by Lisa Rhoades

“Here” I say to my sadness,
here is a beautiful day.
Let’s sit together on the fishing pier
and close our eyes to the small pffts of cloud,
to the old man doing calisthenics
on the bench next to us,
picking up his leg, picking up
his arm, again and again.
Vigorous. Exhausting just to watch.
Let’s feel pathetic for a minute. Now,
isn’t that nice?

Isn’t it nice, just the two of us—
having ice cream for lunch? Driving
until we come to the beach
to sit, head tilted toward the sun,
as a boy cuts big hunks of bait
and laughs with friends
about the shark he will catch,
sluicing guts and blood in ribbons
toward the drain and the dark water
below the dock, where a small sand shark
moves closer to entering
the boy’s bragging heart.
If you want, we can think about
laundry and dishes, the undone to-do list,
that angry letter or our dead friend.
Whatever you want; I’m all yours today.
Don’t be shy, take my hand. Give me a kiss.


Lisa Rhoades is a poet and a pediatric nurse. Her work has appeared in various online and in-print publications.

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