What to do when Life’s Dented & Banged Up

It only seems canned,

like that dented tin you pull off the markdown shelf,

this life

tucking in cotton sheets, chopping onions,

clipping socks to the line with wooden pins

grooved grey by sun and wind and spinning earth —

and there are days, the drowsy ones,

that I blithely buy it,

pay my dollar ninety nine and think

that none of this is shockingly cosmic,

not a quest, not one wild crusade for

the holy grail that has to be found before

time winds down, pops a spring,

ceases here.


Really what I keep doing is searching the shelves for grace elsewhere,

for some of that good stuff somewhere else,

that a smiling salesperson is handing out for free

at the end of aisle six,

samples of that elusive potion of God and joy,

something filling for that quicksand in the pit

of my stomach that never knows enough.


But somewhere between scratching crusted burnt rice off

the bottom of the saucepan, and wiping down child

burning up with a fever in her bones,

I find Someone

at a half past six

handing out now, dented and dinged up,

handing now out as grace,

that it’s all grace, this too,

and I’m not sure if I buy it.


But when I lay out my palm,

lay it right flat out, the palm, me, the will,

to take, give thanks, eat even this,

in the dented moment that presses into my open hand

I feel the pulse of God.