When I can no longer say thank you
for this new day and the waking into it,
for the cold scrape of the kitchen chair
and the ticking of the space heater glowing
orange as it warms the floor near my feet,
I know it is because I’ve been fooled again
by the selfish, unruly man who lives in me
and believes he deserves only safety
and comfort. But if I pause as I do now,
and watch the streetlights outside winking
off one by one like old men closing their
cloudy eyes, if I listen to my tired neighbors
slamming car doors hard against the morning
and see the steaming coffee in their mugs
kissing their chapped lips as they sip and
exhale each of their worries white into
the icy air around their faces—then I can
remember this one life is a gift each of us
was handed and told to open: Untie the bow
and tear off the paper, look inside
and be grateful for whatever you find
even if it is only the scent of a tangerine
that lingers on the fingers long after
you’ve finished eating it.
This is January when winter mornings are what we are given each day. Perhaps you may already be tired of it, when I can no longer say thank you / for this new day and the waking into it. You may find it harder to appreciate the cold even with the warmth of a space heater glowing orange / as it warms the floor near my feet. Is it because as the poet says I’ve been fooled again, believing he deserves only safety / and comfort?
But as he pauses, listening to car doors slam as people go off to work (as they once did), sipping coffee and exhaling each of their worries white into / the icy air around their faces, he remembers this one life is a gift each of us / was handed and told to open. He reminds us to be grateful for this gift, no matter what it appears to be, even if it is only the scent of a tangerine / that lingers on the fingers long after / you’ve finished eating it.
It really can be that simple, the scent of tangerine on your fingers, the sip of coffee, the space heater warming your feet. What is your gift on this wintry day?