…the butter is as soft as the papaya
needs to be for the purposes of this house:

to keep fed, hearts—fed & warmed, minds
to be up to the day, which just needs

a little electricity & four hands,
maybe a little coffee to juice the cells

& to keep the sweep of too little time
at bay. Or maybe it’s always just enough

time to peel the fruit & to get working,
but how to leave behind so many books

so many paintings, so many ancient
coins—the fruits & currency of the minds

that have surely been created & curated
here. May night-time always be as soft

as you need it be; may the birds & bugs
never swing too close to the windows

& sing their songs just in reach & just
as this one is sung—with the lyre in mind

& an Amen.

for Christiane & Miguel


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Eric Elshtain conducts poetry workshops with hospitalized children in two Chicago area hospitals through Snow City Arts and teaches literature at Better Boys Foundation. His writing has appeared in many print and online journals, such as American Letters & Commentary, Denver Quarterly, Chicago Review, McSweeney’s, Ploughshares, Certain Circuits, TextSound, Truck, and others. The author of several books, Elshtain edits Beard of Bees Press.

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