Leveler Poetry Journal
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Prayer to Ruth Stone

Look at what the tomatoes know,

sitting on the counter with the oranges: 

When to rest, when to go,

who to share the ride.  They answer

every question in repose.  I envy them.


Now look what has happened

to my body:

The years strike harder in their swinging.  

Here I am, my skimmer, trimming

the scum, cursing the stock.  Age isn’t

mellowing the greed, only making it pant,

anxious to get the last drop out of every dream. 

I wish I could be still, my soul

more amenable to silence, steps

that will be taken no matter the fuss. 

What if I had loved it all better?  Could I

fill the empty pocket, days already spent?

I come back to this desk again and again in effort. 

If there is a ledger, take the strain of muscles

into account.  I walk slowly through fields,

waiting for wind, the fierce, rushing gift of its passing.

I should have learned something

about absence. I know there is

an answer there, but I break it in wondering.

Kelly Cockerham