Notes Toward a Thank You

Dora Malech

Illegible ledger scrawled on the walls 
of the mind’s interior, unseen but seen to 
and shaping as a place makes nexus 
of the prior and the next,
its grace suspended in an amber 
chamber, praises pressed as flowers 
in chapters of rising action and falling, 
expressed in the rising and falling 
of the sleeping chest after endurance—
you can have the rest—or ink if we take 
cardstock manners over mind 
and think to thank indelible.
Excess can be gratitude, as can 
restraint. I left some
pastry on your porch. I left 
some flowers in a former marinara jar. 
I don’t expect you to keep them forever.
I don’t expect them to keep. I took 
a roadside spectrum out of context, 
ditch lilies whose unfurling says:
can’t help ourselves from blooming
so please help yourselves 
to us too. This bursting at as if all else 
were seams, field sown to open, 
reveling in its unraveling.
Earlier I felt past try, I felt flow errs,
but routine is a route in—I stand by it.
Tangled in lines rapt in the net,
votive’s motive meaning now’s avowal,
and the dough risen to as if today 
were the occasion, something 
still sweeter at its center.


This poem incorporating the theme of gratitude was written in celebration of The Englert Theatre in Iowa City and read at the October 2014 event “Celebrating Local: 10 Years of the New Englert.”


Dora Malech is the author of Say So (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2011) and Shore Ordered Ocean (Waywiser Press, 2009).