Lemon and cedar

What is so pure as grief? A wreck
set sail just to be wrecked again.
To lose what’s lost–it’s all born lost
and we just fetch it for a little while,
a dandelion span, a quarter-note.
Each day an envelope gummed shut
with honey and mud. Foolish
to think you can build a house
from suffering. Even the hinges will be
bitter. There will be no books
in that house, only transfusions.
And all the lemon and cedar
in the world won't rid the walls
of that hospital smell.

Melissa Stein, "Lemon and cedar" from Terrible Blooms.  Copyright © 2018 by Melissa Stein.  Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org.
More Poems by Melissa Stein