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by Ilene Millman

In Praise of Random Things,
June 21st

Praise for the light—its certainty, the way it fractures

into geometric patterns I see tracing

on the sidewalk, the way it clings to the wings of birds


Praise for Zoom—the way the early morning visit

with my Israeli grandson sketches missing pieces in my family portrait

like stick figures trying their best to become real.


For the waffle sandwich—gobs of blueberries and strawberries

stuffed between two Belgians

and topped with more whipped cream than the Himalayas have snow


For the house wren riot—and the way the ruby-throated packet of

hyper-caffeinated energy sipped my sugar syrup for 6 nanoseconds

before flitting away


Blessing for little blonde boy—holding his nylon shorts away

from his sides like a blue sail lifting in the wind,

running and laughing the whole way down my block


Rise up in praise for the Amazon rep— who did not disconnect me,

disrespect me, disapprove

or disappoint me


Praise for Wordle— in two moves


For chord progressions—the skeletons of songs rattling their

twelve-bar bluesy bones in my Air Pods,

accompaniment for my walking pulse


And the lone doe—the way she tiptoes in the whisper music

of grass just at dusk and delicately nibbles

my neighbor’s fallen fruit instead of my flowers and shrubs


Praise for your good night kiss—4 hugs in held suspension, books

on my night table, the entirely of them, bread dough that did not fail

to rise, 60 ounces of water, indoor plumbing


This good hair day— dark chocolate and coffee, coffee and

dark chocolate, for the completely possible poem,

the smile on my friend’s face when we met for lunch


For the chipmunk so quick I did not run it over— and the light,

the way the lemon bash of it

drops at day’s end like a scene change in the theater


For My Love on his 80th Birthday

Let us not repeat the lies
told by numbers,
make jokes about forgetting words
or say if our faces slip
in the fogged bathroom mirror
if we can touch our toes quick
and supple like a robin landing.

Let us not make mention
of how things have come untied
like shoelaces
or what we used to be good at
and now are no good at all.

Let us not rehash
how quickly noon became night
or what’s whispered to us at 2 AM:
what we’ve done and left
undone, mortal boundaries
or the possible natures of time

Instead, let’s do this:
start by saying aloud one moment
larger now: like how it is when we glide
in on our bikes, the beautiful miles
traveled yet again

or the other day,
walking in the Gardens
and spotting the Twilight Zone roses
pulsing off their stems,
fruity purple growing
louder and louder

or just now
when I whispered
I’ll always love you
three times in a row,
not the words meandered and multiplied
but the low untranslatable song
of things folded between us
and our laughter
like the sound of many rivers.




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