The steamy window veils the rainy sky.
The shut-in kids careen around the room.
My cell phone rings, the laundry falls awry,
my papers drift like snow upon the floor,
the newspaper crawls gasping up the drive.
How do I choose, this cloudy, cluttered day,
between the childrens' talk, their needy cries,
the heaped-up tasks all shouting for their pay,
a distant cousin’s struggle to survive –
the chopping, shopping, wallop of the day?
The rain falls hard, the youngest pirouettes.
The torrent of my world whirls me along,
the dishes, clothes, the politics, the pets,
the boss, employees, taxes, and the game,
the car, the kids, the dinner, and the debts.
The youngest falls, a crash, the sound of thunder,
and my most urgent task is briefly clear.
The torrent in my mind whirlpools me under,
I'm going down in this barrage of things,
or not the things exactly but their natures,
for things have needs and characters and cries:
the things to read and watch and learn and love,
things to keep up, express, and build and try -
my studies, my pursuits, my idle games –
the lamp, the child, both weeping where they lie.
I kiss, chastise, and soothe, I tie the laces,
I gently, cruelly, softly set aside
all other pains in all the other places,
I gather them in tissue in my hand,
kiss what I see, absorbed in tiny graces.