Everyday is a gift
so says the plaque on the bathroom wall.
Of course there should be a space between
every and day. It is each and every
day that is the present.
But the everyday is a gift too,
wrapped in plain paper
addressed in Papermate blue,
left at the doorstep, bound in time and string
near the mat, common as dirt and dust,
ordinary as tap water,
easy to miss.
When you return to the table
it may have taken your place
—look before you sit. It travels
with you in the car, built in better
than cup holders, and you can see it
out your windshield—big sky
country and rainy day commuting
broken shoelaces and loose teeth,
salty as canned soup
and just as unmemorable
unless you have specific recall of the mundane,
all happenstance and chicken fingers.
It wouldn’t be special
to get a gift everyday–what greedy
children we’d be. No matter;
it waits for you like clothes
and tags along after breakfast
like a balloon from the shoe store,
or the toilet paper streaming from your heel,
constant companion, sometimes making you self conscious
A gift. A prize. A favor
cheap as the tchotchke in the Cracker Jack box.
and cute as Monopoly’s Scottie dog
succinct as a vanity plate
or wise as the bubblegum fortune.
It’s the balled tissue in the toes of new shoes,
remarkable only when you put your foot in.
Or it’s a bitter process, all hard work
and irritation, comforting as an I-told-you-so
iridescent like a pearl, tough as gristle, and
dirty as a root vegetable.
After all, some gifts we’d like to return.
But whether it is as vexing as catsup,
frivolous as confetti,
or hard and gleaming like the cold comfort
we get from still being alive, it is
right here: not to be denied,
like the streamer that announces
“sanitized for your protection.”
Yes, everyday is a gift.
Unwrap it carefully
and save the paper.
© Ellen Wade Beals, 2011
This poem appeared in Verse Wisconsin, Issue 111, April 2013. I also posted it to this site five years ago. Today I want to share these same sentiments; I feel grateful for all I have. One thing not mentioned is my gratitude to you for reading. So let me say it: thank you so much for giving me your attention.
Peace, love, and solace