Inventory

by Charles Coe

     for the poets of Norfolk Correctional Institution

I tried, as a child, to keep track of certain things:
cracks in the sidewalk between the bus stop and school,
the names of streets between the bridge
and our family’s house,
toy soldiers lined up on a shelf

Now the list of things I’ve lost, or forgotten,
or thrown away, at times seems longer
than the list of what remains;
This feeling often visits, uninvited, late at night
when every breath is a footstep
measuring the miles till dawn.

But, this grey morning as I walked across the yard,
the sun suddenly shoved through the clouds
to warm my face,
and moments I received
a small, unexpected kindness.

This life is not the one I would have chosen.
But I will try to keep an open hand
for the gifts it spreads each day
across my path,
like Easter eggs hidden in the grass.