In a World of Turmoil
by Mary Jo Balistreri

Let us give thanks for simple things,
the ones we take for granted—
a good night’s sleep,
sunbeams that crest the horizon and
seep through blinds,
awaken us with touch to override
the shrill ring of an alarm.

Let us give thanks for morning’s wheat toast,
blue-willow cups, and Gramma’s embroidered
cloth; for Queen Anne’s lace in cut-glass,
tangerines that catch the sun, tomatoes
fresh from the garden.

Let us give thanks for sunflowers
blooming despite the drought,
and all birds that sing us through the day
cardinals and finches,
feisty jays and mourning doves.
The way they shape the air as they come
and go at the feeders, drop seeds
for the future in barrels full of inpatiens.
Thank you too for the buzz of bees,
deep into nectar of the butterfly bush,
pollinating more life wherever they land.

Let us not forget the Fox river,
the life it nurtures:
fish and Canada geese,
mergansers and mallards,
the marshes of fern and flower,
cattails and milkweed,
the monarchs who feed there …
their pause and ours.

For the delicacy of wings—opening, closing,
reminding us of air, reminding us of breath,
the soils and tall grasses,
the wildflowers on its edge.

For whatever the day brings,
let us open our arms
to the brutal radiance of the world,
this day offered, like no other.


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