What People Give You
Long-faced irises. Mums.
Pink roses and white roses
and giant sunflowers,
and hundreds of daisies.
Fruit baskets with muscular pears,
and water crackers and tiny jams
and the steady march of casseroles.
people give money these days.
Cards, of course:
the Madonna, wise
and sad just for you,
Chinese cherry blossoms,
sunsets and moonscapes,
and dragonflies for transcendence.
People stand by your sink
and offer up their pain:
Did you know I lost a baby once,
or My eldest son was killed,
or My mother died two months ago.
People are good.
They file into your cartoon house until it bows at the seams;
they give you every
except your daughter back.
"What People Give You" by Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno, from Slamming Open the Door. © Alice James Books, 2009. (buy now)
Of course it is even better if you listen to Garrison Keillor read it. The poem starts at 3:00: