by Diane Kendig

For putting the coffee cone back in the cupboard
with its used wet grounds, I forgive you
as I forgive you all your lapsed cleaning, the tub
scrubbed, yet unclean, the pot with its streak of oatmeal.

For boring strangers in grocery lines and dressing rooms
with your blather and while I’m at it,
for your mouth going at it while you should
be listening, lips folded, I forgive you.

I forgive you your many losses: the keys,
the glasses, over and over your MP3,
that little stash of cash hidden in some envelope
but where? The wedding ring you removed in sleep,

oh and the laptop left in the airport shuttle,
shuttling your friends around to follow it;
forgiven, forgiven, forgiven: the lost diary,
your mother’s silver dollars. Her death, alone.

For your fear of blood, incisions,
needles, and your needless fainting at their sight,
keeling over in the hall of the college infirmary,
friends’ hospital rooms, the blood drive hall.

May forgiveness rain down on you like the mangoes
that first night in Managua you thought were attacks,
like the rain in Old Orchard Beach when you learned
your rental cottage’s roof was a food mill, cranking

above your head, skinning, purging, pitting, pitiless.
That stunning, sorrowful, loud and wet, may it
flood the muck from your gutters, clean out the grudges
sludging your life. Let them be laved away.

Diane Kendig‘s fifth poetry collection is Woman with a Fan, forthcoming in June. A recipient of awards from the Ohio Arts and National Humanities Councils, she has published in journals such as J Journal, Under the Sun, and Valparaiso Review. For 20 years, Kendig directed creative writing at the University of Findlay, including a prison writing program. Currently she curates, “Read + Write: 30 Days of Poetry,” with over 4000 subscribers. Find her at