She saw him at McQuades, with his mild-looking beard
and eyes that somehow seemed broken by wisdom.
Blessed are blue skies, he said, and blessed are homes
that hold brightness inside like a signal. She didn’t understand,
so she said Excuse me? with a smile, and he smiled
as if silent mountains were standing in the distance
around them. Blessed are these hands – and he held out
his hands – that can hold so much happiness because
happiness is as weightless as the sky. He smiled,
and lights in the store, she thought, seemed to be brighter,
and then she thought of her father, who people said
was crazy and said bizarre things, and then she noticed
that the sky outside was setting up the strangest sunset
she had ever seen, with clouds carrying light like
it needed comfort and understanding. She cried inside
for her dad, who tried to hold all of life in his hands
like this man at McQuades, but who was broken
because beauty was too heavy for him. Hold this world
softly, the man said. Blessed are sunsets, and grocery stores
like this one, and sorrow like yours, he said, and smiled,
and said I better get home to see how Shirley is doing.

 

 

HAMILTON SALSICH has been writing poems for about 50 years, usually in the early morning. He was a teacher of writing and literature for 45 years, and is now retired and devoting his time to his beloved wife and their five children and four grandchildren — and to writing poems. He and his wife love to take long bike rides, float down rivers in our kayaks, and take vigorous hikes in the hills of New England. They also enjoy reading poems and great literature together. (Recently, they’ve read the stories of Chekhov and the poems of Jane Kenyon.)