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Dear Brooke

Brooke Harries

I suppose you could make a poem

about how you learned the Lord’s Prayer

in a 12-step meeting. Shock everyone into pity.

Or you could try conveying something more difficult

than desperation cornering you into faith.

Make one about how different it is standing in the shower now,

knowing nothing makes a lot of sense in life;

neither is it as fair as you used to know it to be.

You sweep the floor because you like a floor clean,

but cannot be sure it is an act of love

or how it will affect anyone else in the house.

It seems the best way to do a chore is for yourself,

and the closer you can get to something like

enjoying chores, the more you’ll like being alive.

You clean your stove and it helps you forget

your friend who died of a fentanyl overdose.

You arrive places on time

to have one more minute to believe

if you respect people enough,

they will kindly stop killing themselves.

But these balms of good conduct serve only you.

When you get to whatever age you will be

when the train drops you at the gate of the afterlife

and you are asking how to charge your devices

I hope it hits you that errands

were big practice for a heaven

of more buttons to mend, nail polish stains

to remove from coffee tables,

items to obtain from separate sources.

I hope there is a DMV in heaven and hell.

Ramshackle and packed.

When your number is called

I hope you fold a love letter

and stuff it tight into the pages

of a book you’re jealous you didn’t write.

BROOKE HARRIES' work has appeared in Sixth Finch, Hoot Review, and FishFood Magazine. She was awarded the Academy of American Poets Harold Taylor Prize and the Dorothy and Donald Strauss Endowed Dissertation Fellowship. She is currently pursuing an MFA at UC Irvine.

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