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.