Selected by Mish Murphy, Assistant Poetry Editor

Amy Baskin: Three Poems

Lord, Help Me Be Like The Knitters

There is as much of a chance that the world will end today as there
ever has been and god knows that Shiva’s wheel of destruction
is spinning full bore right now.

But that doesn’t stop the six ladies at the next table from holding
their two-hour knitting circle this morning at this cafe, rain or

All threats and possible endings and Armageddon aside, they actually
called in to book the largest table in the coffee house in advance.

This is the bravest act I am aware of today. They have their steady
gig, their weekly commitment to attendance.

This is how to give zero fucks. Readers sliding down the bridges of
each nose. The occasional smart-ass crack, the furious clack of
needles, the skeins of brightly dyed wool.

When one falls and rolls across the floor, another calmly leans
down to pick up.

(Previously published in SWWIM and Stone Gathering)



Like raindrops,
practice falling.

Say, once a week,
just as something we do—

like flossing
or scheduling sex—

it becomes our nature,
like laughing or clapping.

Land and bond,
covalent in our failures.

Huddle routinely
in cold potholes.

Wait for our mistakes
to evaporate.

Fall again without knowing
where to land or with whom.

Raindrops know
they will splash and form puddles

or hit pavement.
We should learn as well.

Expect each sudden misstep,
each pool of blood.

Skinned knees, scraped palms
bear witness to sacrament.

How ordinary, how manifest
to rise up again.

(Previously published in Turnpike Magazine)


Hidden Wholeness

—after Thomas Merton

I want to be a holy fool. My goal? To bathe in stormlight
or sun, pluck tart berries alongside the riper ones,

mix them together in the same tin pail. Gorge on them,
splay-legged in a patch. What gluttony! Perhaps.

Share them with the picnic ants. Mix the sweet and sour,
little ants. See how that tastes? Muddled magic.

Now chew on them again in a new order. Shake them up
in disorder. Throw them up in clouded air and watch them

scatter. No matter. Sweet and sour, taste and distaste,
ants and ground sprayed too poisoned for insects—

all of it is horrid, glorious in its entirety,
and me as well.


Book cover to HYSTERICAL CAKE by Amy Baskin

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