when happiness arrives by an
unexpected boat from a lush country
i’ve never visited and
about which i can recite
only bland facts, i’m tempted
to turn her away. what could i offer
that would make her want to stay? she is
of course splendid, her velvet coat
richer and more colorful than joseph’s.
i look at my unworthy life.
why did she come?
if i accept her, loss will swell into
a hibernating monster i’ll tip-
toe around on my way out
the door, upon my return snores
will jar my sleep all my steps
careful ones until he wakes
up until she is gone.
only refusal could win hard-
collared certainty who incites
no wonder but spreads
calmness like a blanket and deals out
principles upon which to build
like gravity, like the earth’s
orbit. certainty: an absence
to mourn a presence that bores
but the truth is my reception is
lukewarm. i am capable of neither
full acceptance nor outright refusal.
happiness, my wary heart can offer
you very little. i will go to the length
of the short rope it has tied me
to. i will cook you a modest dinner,
give you my floor to sleep on. but
understand, i know who is deserving.
by Ann Tweedy
published by SWELL