“The Open Door” by Irene Mitchell

Let the day go / the sweet green day / let it take care of itself.
Grace Paley

Let the day go. There will be another one
just like it tomorrow.

Whereupon, the day dawned,
a propitious start.
Loosely speaking, the sun emerged on time,
birds sang,
a soft rain shower fell
as refreshment.

There were labors to get through,
conversations to endure,
margins to justify,
a lookout to be kept for the carpenter bee.

There was a wood. There was a stream
where marsh marigolds lived and thrived.
Nothing moved against the grain.

Nor did the elm tree die.
Only its timing went awry
and tested my devotion.

May this be the way in life, a calm
after alarm,
proof of the strength needed
to watch a leaf unfold.

Irene Mitchell has taught English and writing in inner city and rural New York. She
is the author of seven poetry collections, most recently Irene Mitchell: Selected Poems
(FutureCycle Press 2021). Formerly poetry editor of Hudson River Art Magazine,
Mitchell is known for her collaborations with visual artists and composers. She was a
recent associate artist in residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts.


Image: “Lake Otsego, Slow 5 mph” by Daniel Nester

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