POETRY

A cup of steaming tea and vegetables

To Be

I don’t want to be magnificent.
I would rather my mornings drip slowly,
swelling with time,
obstinate to hurrying,
rebellious in their relative emptiness.

I don’t want to be extraordinary,
to rush past the jasmine despite its pungent plea,
or to forsake the stranger on the street,
whose eyes tell a story I notice
but don’t have time to know.

Remember me by my afternoon naps,
and spontaneous drives out of the city.
Remember me by the way I watched in amazement
as raw vegetables let off steam and became soft,
and how I never stopped seeing that
as sacred metamorphosis,
no matter how often I cooked.

Remember me by the vitality I kept
after the sun’s daily descent,
that I was alive:
dancing in the kitchen and
singing in the shower,
that I was naked,
playing with bugs,
laughing, crying, yelling,
starting projects and
leaving them unfinished—
pondering the universe, writing about grass and
other small, organic things.
Remember me by the way my
capacity to love and hold the people of my
life never shrank for any
accomplishment or accolade.
Remember me by the way I warded off excellence
my whole life,
with wonder,
with laughter,
with uncomplicated joys—
with beautiful, pregnant moments

of nothing.


illustration by Happy Burbeck