Step by Step

I do not ask to see the distant scene – one step enough for me.
– John Henry Newman, “Lead, Kindly Light”

If it were only the black leather gloves
molding in a pile of leaves or the cell phone
on a freezer shelf, I could cope.
Even unsent birthday cards filed away
with tax receipts are bearable.

More alarming now, I cannot predict
when I’ll forget how to turn
the oven on or write a check
or why the front door key won’t fit.
There are the bills I thought I paid.
RSVPs never sent. The names of friends
I’ve known for years? They’re on a shelf somewhere.

I need to write things down.
The keys are in the kitchen drawer
with contacts for emergencies.
My will is in the firebox.
I prefer white roses over pink.
My favorite hymn’s a prayer for Light.
Distant scenes fade.
One step through darkness will suffice.

Previously published in Carolyn Martin, Thin Places (CA: Kelsay Books, 2017)

Carolyn Martin

From associate professor of English to management trainer to retiree, Carolyn Martin is a lover of gardening and snorkeling, writing and photography. Her fourth poetry collection, A Penchant for Masquerades, was released by Unsolicited Press in 2019. She is currently the poetry editor of Kosmos Quarterly: journal for global transformation.

You do not have to be good.