Since no one can
what happens after my heart bursts into flames,
my breath into sand,
my limbs into soggy bones,
I’ll drink this tea,
slurp this cabbage soup, watch the leaves
turn red and gold as they fall
and become a devotee
to all things unknown,
all things that move and weave
under the stars,
all things that glow down here
and force me to believe
that I am not
Doing My Small Part
The bluejay caws at me—
I’m sitting too close to the bird bath.
He sees the water but won’t come down to drink.
After two minutes, he leaves
to find another source. I’m nothing
to fear, bird. There’s no wrath
in these hands; in fact, they’re too soft and clumsy.
They can’t change a starter, nor tile a floor.
They can’t rewire the light switch, or matte
the watercolor. My wife wrings
her hands at my ineptness. On good days, she agrees
I have other skills, but the list
is small: cook breakfast; write a sonnet;
get down on the floor and play with Cloud and Chloe.
I’ve been known to pick up the guitar and sing
a song or two, but that’s rare. I can kiss
with the best of them, so she keeps me around—
thirty-five years this December. Maybe I’ll surprise her
by fixing the sliding door. Or not. Maybe, again, this
poem will be the gift I bring.
David James published two of his eleven books in 2019: A Gem of Truth and Nail Yourself into Bliss. More than thirty of his one-act plays have been produced in Ireland and the U.S. He teaches writing at Oakland Community College in Michigan, the third coast.