Lisa Rhoades

The Words at Hand

I want to write something exquisite
and tender, but those are not the words at hand. The words
at hand are mismatched socks, lint, and dog hair,
homework, and the flu.

I want the pigeons
out of my yard. They bully the smaller birds—
the male cardinals hopping along behind their mates to feed them.
I want the bellies of the females filled.

I don’t want the words  MOAB, refugee, and rape,
unemployment or cancer to grow sticky
in the lives they invade.

I don’t want to be petty about my desires,
or worry about money in the presence of my wealth.
I want big things, too, and not just for me:
shelter and prayer, friends

meeting in the street with a hug,
the ornamental plums in bloom a little longer,
so everyone has time to see them
before their blousy fall.


Lisa Rhoades has had poems appear recently online/in print at BigCityLit and Literary Mama. Poems are forthcoming at New Ohio Review and Barrow Street. Her first collection came out from Bright Hill Press.

 … return to Issue 10.1 Table of Contents.