There Should Be Seven (The Virtues)

"There is nothing wrong with sobriety in moderation." John Ciardi

I know at the rate I'm going, I'll run out of both
beer and paper by the end of the day. I plan to buy more.

I have a spot in my yard where I've planted only weeds.
My neighbor thinks I'm odd, but the weeds look happy.

In a crowded bathroom, a woman walks in; her two young children squirm,
hold their hands between crossed legs. I give them my place in line.

I read a caption in the paper, cut it out, frame it. It reads: Clergy see no threat
to life on Mars; proof would mean God even bigger than thought.

I have a friend who has written a blues song about a white man's shoes.
He titles it I Ain't got no Sole. I wish him well.

A man approaches me at a reading and asks for the poem
I wrote about grief. I rip it from my book and give it to him.

I read this poem and know something is missing.
I light a cigarette, sip my beer, decide to leave it out.

There are More than Seven (The Vices)

"Without courage, all other virtues lose their meaning." Winston Churchill

Three days turn into a succession of walks
through the interior of my house.

I don't shower or change my clothes.
Eventually I sleep, dream of who to blame.

I read a great poet and believe I am mediocre.
I write something awful and prove myself right.

My husband asks if something's wrong. I lie, tell him nothing,
hate that he believes me, picture my life with another man.

The weed garden I've planted is pointless.
I rip it out, sit in the dirt, enjoy the ache in my jaw.

A friend ignores my counsel and marries for the fourth time.
I build a cold wall and dedicate it to his new wife.

I pull gray hairs from my head, wonder if they taste like salt,
study my hand as moves toward my mouth, choke and eat more.

I think to take a walk outside, tend to the weeds
Now revived. I sip a beer, light a cigarette, ignore them.