Gratitude by Katie Hoogendam

Photo by Natalie Rhea Riggs from Unsplash


Does it seem like everyone is dying?
It does.
And then you realize what a holy miracle
your grandmother’s one hundredth birthday was.
In those days, we hugged and our flesh rubbed,
we clinked celebratory glasses of sherbet punch, our fingers glancing,
and marveled over what a century of life can mean:
two world wars, the invention of cars, a human on the moon,
plastic and bouffants, cigars,
babies and segregation and Roe v. Wade and the vote,
lipstick and rayon and her camelhair coat.
God, what a mystery, the magic of history,
the fact of our legs in the long grass, the beauty of a body
splayed languidly under a catalpa tree.
So the radio may be off, or you may leave it on.
You see friends from a distance, on the lawn,
wearing bejeweled masks and dropping off surplus zucchini.
And suddenly, maybe it’s the humidity,
the ongoing waves of heat marking total climate calamity
(but we’ll save this for another poem)
and you think to yourself, How Marvelous.
Zucchini, jewels on masks, chickens squawking and prancing,
children the world over leaping through sprinklers like Swan Lake, dancing,
your grandmother, alive forever in her molasses cookie recipe—
cookies you could make right now, come to think of it,
because your neighbour bought extra sugar at Costco,
and she dropped it off right on your doorstep, like a gift,
and when you opened the door
in the deep blue of early morning
you were surprised to find a mason jar under shadows, full of sweet—
just what you needed,
right at your feet.
Photo by Mi Pham from Unsplash

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Lovely poem, Katie, and a good reminder to be truly grateful for all the positives that come our way in these precarious, fraught times.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A lovely poem Katie, so many evocative images and infused, throughout, a thread of hope!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A beautiful poem, Katie. Splattered with little gems.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Wonderful! Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. dmwauthor says:

    As I read your grateful poem I heard the tone and inflection of your voice after having heard you read it at the ZOOM meeting. Very special!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. felicity936 says:

    Lovely poem, Katie!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. kimaubrey says:

    Thanks for this lovely, thoughtful poem, Katie!


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