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Before It’s Not by Carole Greenfield

Before It’s Not

Today I’ve had the opportunity to watch bees
burrow in and out of pale-green hydrangea blooms,
listen to breezes in neighbor oak and maple,
as well as hammer and whine of buzz saws
on a nearby addition going up in place
of two lovely tall trees taken down at summer’s
start. I didn’t realize how much morning
shade they gave ’til they were gone.

I try to notice what I have, what is here
before it’s not. I try to give thanks, practice
humility, manifest appreciation

for the giant oak tree still standing on the corner,
for what’s left of the maple tree behind
my next-door neighbor’s garage,

for each day I waken in a body free
from pain, each day my parents are yet living,
each day I waken to the world.

This I know: bad things that happen
are never ones I dread, but what I never
thought possible.

My husband swung the spade so hard into my finger,
it left a blood blister that lasted for weeks,
a dark splotch, tender to the touch.
Could have been worse. Could have been
the whole finger whacked off.

This I know too: a day with low humidity
in New England is a good day, even though we need
the rain, desperately, it’s still a beautiful morning,

and being able to wake up, brew tea,
step outside to see a goldfinch
perched on a drought-browned echinacea,
digging out seeds for its breakfast, well,
that’s enough for now, maybe even
a little bit more.

by Carole Greenfield

Editor’s Note: This poem’s truth is stated clearly, yet still it seeps into the reader’s mind with gentle steps, making the resolution feel possible.


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