Poem: A Smile Like Medicine

A Smile Like Medicine

Rain comes. At least, it is predicted.
It is grey outside. A mottled sky.
Moisture in the air. You breathe it in.
A hint of winter still,
despite a calendar that sings spring.

The night’s dreams still haunt you.
The unsettledness. The not knowing.
That is the worst. Give me hell, clearly,
sharply, over a holy uncertainty.
It is too much like being a child,

too much like reliving the worst moments
of your life, the not knowing, times
of too many options, and having no idea
what path might take you anywhere
but where you are,

that youthful certainty,
beaten into you, that anything you do
is wrong.

You sip coffee with your wife.
The dream gone. The emotions, not quite.
She is beautiful in the morning, unruly hair
and sleepy skin, soft in the light.
Her smile is like medicine.

You are not only growing old with her.
You have grown up in the ways you always imagined
love would grow you, but never quite experienced.
She is patient with your oddities.
Not one has been weaponized. A new thing for you.

a different kind of dream. Unlike last night’s,
one that will not fade with time.

About this poem

I had an unsettling dream early this morning. I have them rarely and when I do, they often linger.

I am closing in on the fourth year of marriage in what is my second marriage. It continues to be a miracle. And truly, her smile is like medicine.

Why the picture of the chair? Because it reminds me of a nightmare I had as a child. It has never left me, that one, strange, frightening, and strangely beautiful. This was not supposed to be a love poem. But often things that are not supposed to, end up that way.


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