Is there a word for someone not yet
a saint, before he’s quit smoking,
before he’s washed his hands—
managing the flimsy angel wing
doors on the convection oven?
The word might be thistle, the unshaven
husk budding with downy purple.
Or mirror, or recipe, or sift.
Is there a word for someone
not yet fallen, before he’s let go
of the golden branch, holding
his ladle over stove-flame, for serving
sweet tea & casseroles in the heat of the day?
The word might be muscle or thaw
after the unmentioned storm
of sunrise, red-faced, expectant,
though we have nothing in our pockets—
no keys or receipts—
no proof we’ve been anywhere but here.