What I like to do is open my eyes slowly     take in gallons of warm

aromatic air in small swallows     stretch my unburdened neck and

shoulders     touch the candles with my breath until they can take

no more     turn on the overhead light     and wait     drawing in

the quiet of these bookshelves     this altar     marinating in these

positive vibes     thinking not of a browned rotting clementine or

the sludge and slurry floating in the national mall or gunpowder

or broken rainbows or half-sized burial plots or hollow mannequins

in a governor’s mansion or murdered flamingos or an overabundance

of ocean or cigarettes or lost limbs     but instead of the excitement

my dog feels as I come home from work     my son’s brightly dyed

hair bouncing as he tells me his dreams of go-karts and video games

birthday fundraisers     homemade greeting cards in crayon

Amanda’s head on my shoulder     the smell of deciduous trees

and slow-cooking barbeque     every kind of sky     acrylic paint

under my fingernails     regular heartbeats     the ability to open

my eyes     I think of these warm embers living in my chest

I touch my palms to the carpet and exhale     and open the door

to the rest of the world     filled with what it takes to carry on