[The will to see oneself as fragile]

The will to see oneself as 
fragile, fallible, 
liable to fail. 

To consider a stranger and 
hear, in the mind’s ear, 
one’s true voice

insisting: I must change.
Ordinary people do this
Patient urgent work

alone and together
day upon day upon day.
Like my mother, once,

leading her ailing mother 
back through the maze 
of our suburban scrawl,

past ache, past haze, 
past confusion and rage
toward a neat room

where waited prayer,
fear, forgiveness, 
grief, grace. This

is a poem about kin 
and neighbors and nations 
adrift, in error, under siege. 

This is a ceasefire poem. 


Copyright © 2023 by Tracy K. Smith. Reprinted with the permission of the poet.