THE MORNING AFTER
After the winds
when the shuddering almost lifted
the house off its foundation, Mercy
surveyed the backyard.
The sycamore was more fragile than she expected.
The backyard could have been mistaken
for a graveyard:
Tattered. Vandalized. Overturned.
With a scattering of frail bones, molars, stray feathers.
What interested her more
were blank shreds, scrolls, and scraps
torn from the trunk and limbs of eucalyptus trees.
She was certain some would construe:
blank pages of unwritten stories,
epithets, curses, or prophesies,
And then there was the dingy mess
in the suicide lane on a street nearby.
Rank rag. Scrap. Damp heap.
Black and white matted fur.
Somehow still breathing.
wondering if there was an end to resilience.
Another month spent. The moon,
a pocket: Flat. Empty. Drooping
near a break in the white pines.
Burning with anticipation,
morning surges under the horizon,
anxious to begin its day.
Anticipation rekindles the sky’s edge.
Mercy never could reconcile why the end
of the month carried extra duties with it.
Scan. Balance. Compare. Depreciate.
There were always discrepancies, settlements.
She wanted to forgive every sinner’s,
every sin. Honest. And without fail, she did.
Most, she found, never forgave themselves.
Alan Toltzis is the author of 49 Aspects of Human Emotion and The Last Commandment. A two-time Pushcart nominee, he has published in numerous print and online journals including, Grey Sparrow, The Wax Paper, Hummingbird, IthacaLit, and Poetry NI. He serves as a Contributing Editor for The Saturday Poetry Series in As It Ought to Be Magazine and as an Editor for the Mizmor Poetry Anthology.