Lisa Rhoades


We don’t get to choose
our portions of gladness
or how absolutely tied
they might be
to a childhood of wood smoke
late Sunday afternoons, drifting
from one back yard
to the next.

Neither what pains:
the heart’s cellar,
with its soured butter beans
and mason jars tight with rust,
baling wire threading the knuckles
of the furnace hinge,
a spindle tightening everything to itself.

Is it a mistake
for the rose to spend
its single November bloom
as confetti for the grass, or
the towhees to stop their
scratch for insects and seeds
to sing and countersing?
Is it wrong to be satisfied
by what’s been given,
by what’s been given
made glad?