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Featured Poems

By Joshua Corwin

Gratitude After Breakfast

Published in Becoming Vulnerable

I USED      to think that meditation was a hoax,

that enlightenment was for those interred in the ground.

I USED      to think it was impossible to cease thinking for more than five seconds.

I secretly believed I knew everything.

I USED      to deem gratitude an unnecessary word.

I hated to stretch my cheekbones into a smile.

I was convinced everyone was a phony.

I USED      to think I was the shit.

I USED      to think I was a piece of shit.

I would be paralyzed by fear for hours.

I would argue with mirrors, threatening to pound my fists into the clear.

I USED      to curse the reflection I feared.

I USED      to stay up all night, dancing in sorrow

without consent, my entire body convulsing.

I watched the sun rising sadness and despaired like a mourner.

Outside rising, inside dying.

I USED      to not know if I was lying or telling the truth.

I spent hours wrestling with my god—myself.

I wake up in the morning, and I say the sh’ma.

Then I make my bed; wash my hands.

I wake up in the morning, and I walk to the room next door.

Then I sit in a chair; listen for an hour.

I wake up in the morning, and sometimes I feel light as a feather.

Then I make breakfast; smile as I wash my bowl.

I wake up in the morning, and I smile at the man in the mirror.

Then I take a shower; hug my soul.

I wake up in the morning, and I thank God.

I know I’m not Him.

12:01 AM

Published in Becoming Vulnerable

I can hear the shine in your eyes

on the other end of the telephone.

When I speak like this,

I feel authentic

and not heavy.

I don’t have to tattoo meaning in the air

to know what you mean.

I remember when you first told me…

apropos of nothing…

about the different levels of charitable donation.

I was sitting right across from you — over there.

(You in that armchair, me in this one: our eyes.)

You said there’s the donor who gives large sums

and puts a placard on the wall, signifying

who it’s from;

and then there’s the other one who gives…

but remains anonymous.

Your words hanging like a phantom,

I didn’t have to be who I thought I was;

you were once me,

once where I was…

In that moment, I knew.

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