Reconciliation – Alan Toltzis


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, 
fragrantly magical. 


And then there was the dingy mess 
in the suicide lane on a street nearby. 
Beaten down:
Rank rag. Scrap. Damp heap. 
Black and white matted fur.
Somehow still breathing.


Mercy smiled,
wondering if there was an end to resilience.



RECONCILIATION

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

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.

About the contributor

Related Articles

Sam Smith -Poetry

Another Pause among white tussocks a sun-doped song-thrushspreads her wings  /  and opens her feathers  /  to be ant-cleaned nearby shallow ponds and pools are alive...

What I Didn’t Tell My Father, Poetry Ann Howells

What I Didn’t Tell My Father mosquitoes swirl like ash in headlights& priests call bingo from pulpitsup & down the shorearound our table relatives...

Philip Dunkerley- New Poetry

Burt’s Bees i.m. Burt Shavitz, co-founder of Burt’s Bees, d. 2015, aged 80 Weary of the push and frenzy of Manhattan, Burt lit out in his old...

More Like This

2 Poems by Patrick Green

A Letter to You 3 A.M. in the kitchen   Shooting chips under the white light Hitting our heads on your door,   A...

Moon Inside. John Buckley McQuaid

MOON INSIDE There’s a waitress full of cookies And a keeper of this café Who’s arranging leather books Beneath the bar There’s a...

Prophecy’ and ‘Harpies’

Kitty Coles' poems have been widely published in magazines and anthologies

My Uncle in the Ospital. New Fiction from Rosemary McLeish

Rosemary McLeish won second prize in both the Mslexia Poetry Competition and the Bedford International Poetry Competition.

Dick Jones- New Poetry

BERTRAGHBOY BAY Where the ironstone wall gathers fuscia and salt; where the swifts stitch blue air to the scrub-grass; where herring gulls mob the heron; where cormorants hang wings on the...