What I Want is Tenderness

tenderness Some days I swim—
Other days I slowly lurch
Toward what is called
A forgone conclusion….
What I want is tenderness, my dear.
I want my heart full of tenderness
And a second helping from you, too.

Scrape away all the decades of
Acquaintances that came and went.
No need to worry what I looked like now.
Designer magazines tell me that I should
Pay special attention to my coffee table books….
They “tell the world what kind of person
You would like to be.”
I guess it’s time to attend my unfolded laundry.

I long for kindness at the end—
The way a little girl longs for a red bike
Or to own her own horse,
Stabled close enough to ride each day after school.

I threw out all cracked china eight years ago.
Now I confess I was never kind enough— were you?
All that’s left is pure gratitude,
Distilled, not always pure, but useable each day—
Table settings more than enough for six.
I don’t care what others think,
If every room is painted that perfect
Shade of Forgiveness that looks good in every light.
Now I’ll go attend to socks without their mates.
But what I want most is tenderness,
Coming from me and coming at me
At break of day and when I go to sleep at night.


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