Lisa Rhoades

The Heart Saying It’s OK

Everywhere, fountains of apricot and dun: royal elk, and canna,
the yucca’s yellow-centered star. All the reaching-up plants
reach up before falling down.

Simple enough, some days, to trumpet my good luck.
Look here, look here, a woman with friends, coffee
in a cup the size of a bowl, everything generous and large.

Simple enough to look the other way,
to wake up small-hearted and sad. What hurts, hurts hard.
The math is simple in the economy of loss.

In the coffee house a couple in flannel shirts and sturdy shoes.
What will be the measure of their day? He gets up, she says
“don’t stay long.” Their kiss a stitch, their love a seam.

Sparrows cling to pampas grass in the warm lee of a building:
the bricks hot with the afternoon sun, the birds flickering and full.

A small list: groceries, letters, the dishes filling the sink.
What will get crossed off. What will stay?

The body taking up the effort. The heart saying it’s ok.

A bright flair against the sky, the glassy lake,
the still-green, October trumpets orange.
Trumpets red. Trumpets fall.


Lisa Rhoades lives in Staten Island where she writes, parents two amazing kids, and works part time as a pediatric nurse. In addition to leading poetry workshops in several venues, she has published widely, including poems at Barrow Street and New Ohio Review. She was a finalist in the 2017 Beullah Rose Contest at Smartish Pace. Bright Hill Press published her poetry collection, Strange Gravity.