You Don’t Start Out
wanting to write about pain,
the pain lives near you, neighborly
and you begin to rely on it
as if it would almost always agree
to feed your cats or take in
the recycling can. Its curtains blow
in a midnight breeze the way yours do.
There exists a kind of empathy.
And you’re lonely. You’re willing to turn
toward anything to make a friend.
At the end of the day
what else is there to do
but write a poem:
the blue and white pillow case
you wrapped his body in.
The suddenness with which
your friend stopped shoveling
dirt over the sweet black fur
you knew so well and pulled
a cigarette from his pocket.
You thought he wanted to rest
but instead he split it lengthwise
and spilled tobacco in, last
gift, a spontaneous blessing,
something sacred perhaps,
Molly Fisk writes poetry and radio commentary from her home in California’s Sierra foothills. Her most recent book of poems is The More Difficult Beauty; her latest commentary is Everything But the Kitchen Skunk. mollyfisk.com