My meals are mostly solo nowadays
and thus breakfast this morning
was a bowl of rue, topped
with slices of remorse.
At lunch, went to the buffet
table, chose a slab of pain
served open-faced. Sometimes
I assemble a side salad
from the many varieties of contrition—
green-leafed, frisée, bitter.
If I want a snack to punctuate
the afternoon, I’ll pick a globe
of bleak from the tree that groans outside.
And for dinner, a simple plate of guilt,
drizzled with a stream of sadness, thin
and steady, straight from the infinite source.
To talk about the tinges wrought by ripples
moving over rocks of sundry sizes at the bottom
of a creek that races through a summer’s day—
language stalls on the tongue but the eyes are wild
with their desire to speak of these unlikely hues: five separate
shades of green impressed on flickers of dark grey
then passed to brown where the sun seeps
down as the current stirs the water.
No doubt there is an ideal palette for the portrait
of a stream whose bed is filled with colors coaxed
by light out of rocks and water. Oh, box of paints!
if only you held ability, rather than mere potential.
Annie Stenzel was born in Illinois, but currently lives within sight of the San Francisco Bay. Her book-length collection is The First Home Air After Absence (Big Table Publishing). Her poems appear in many print and online journals in the U.S. and the U.K., including Chestnut Review, Gargoyle, SWWIM, The Ekphrastic Review, The Lake, and Unlost. For more, visit anniestenzel[dot]com.