Bless Their Hearts

By Richard Newman Richard Newman
At Steak ‘n Shake I learned that if you add
“Bless their hearts” after their names, you can say
whatever you want about them and it’s OK.
My son, bless his heart, is an idiot,
she said. He rents storage space for his kids’
toys—they’re only one and three years old!
I said, my father, bless his heart, has turned
into a sentimental old fool. He gets
weepy when he hears my daughter’s greeting
on our voice mail. Before our Steakburgers came
someone else blessed her office mate’s heart,
then, as an afterthought, the jealous hearts
of the entire anthropology department.
We bestowed blessings on many a heart
that day. I even blessed my ex-wife’s heart.
Our waiter, bless his heart, would not be getting
much tip, for which, no doubt, he’d bless our hearts.
In a week it would be Thanksgiving,
and we would each sit with our respective
families, counting our blessings and blessing
the hearts of family members as only family
does best. Oh, bless us all, yes, bless us, please
bless us and bless our crummy little hearts.

Poem copyright ©2009 by Richard Newman from his most recent book of poetry, Domestic Fugues, Steel Toe Books, 2009. Reprinted by permission of Richard Newman.

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Poet Richard Newman

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

 Richard  Newman

Biography

Richard Newman is the author of Domestic Fugues (Steel Toe Books, 2009). He lives in St. Louis. His poetry has been published in former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser's column, "American Life in Poetry."

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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