Today's poem is by Jeffery L. Bahr


The optimist arrived and said to the men
in their raggedness that nothing was so shattered
that it cannot be mended, but the atomist
among the derelicts said, no, quite
the opposite, everything can be broken
further, everything, and we are proof
of that, we have been left in pieces,
but will be smaller still and smaller
until we are the mote in the window light,
the ghost thread in your peripheral vision.
But the optimist said you suffer from a breath defect,
you don't breathe in, replacing the ill wind with the voice
of St. Jude, who was hovering at that very moment
over the barrels burning anything they could find
to keep warm in December, the derelicts I mean,
and Jude said, true, but I am principally
the saint of lost causes, and the atomist
wrote QED with the end of the ink
in a stolen marker on the windshield
of a long-abandoned minivan
and the optimist looked at this collection
of despair scattered among the ravaged
cityscape and walked among them
silently, signing with his good hand
to one man and then another
saying without words that, yes,
sorrow is a butcher's knife.

Copyright © 2011 Jeffery L. Bahr All rights reserved
from 32 Poems
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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