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Stepping down


By Lee Nash

Meditate, they said. Clear the head.

I found it quite impossible.

My thoughts kept breaking in.

I tried to bring them to order

as if I were training puppies,

but they wandered, time and again.

An idea struck me

from a bowl of fruit:

I would focus on an apple.

Not emptiness, but surely the next best


Instead, I called up Adam and Eve and


pesticides and worms.


I chose an egg.

Women who long to conceive drifted in,

and chickens at factory farms

and workers forced to wear diapers

as they stunned the frightened birds.

I opted for a match

and followed behind an Olympic torch.

Moist spongecakes rose in oven

and logs burned in hearths.

Candles swayed at Candlemas

and cigarettes started forest fires.

This time, I picked something smaller:

a grain of rice.

I conjured children

without the chance of a bowlful,

and billionaires counting their fortunes,

while others starved.

I knew I had to go smaller still.

A pinch of salt. Less than that, a crystal.

At last. The ocean bathed my stubborn wounds

and took the bottle that held my tears.

Everything tasted good

and nothing came to mind.

(One of the winning poems of Spirit First Poetry contest 2020)

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