Counting Song

A poem for Sunday

(Caroline Tompkins)

An orange on the first day, an apple the next
Down for the count with a parking-lot picnic
Out on the town in a parking-lot panic
I saw—saw!—the lake before falling asleep

A coin for your feelings? My heart sliced like an apple
The lake shone like milkglass before the storm hit it
Take your coffee and go, take your protocols with you
Store what you desire for the worst of the weekdays

An orange cut in wedges, the stock market says
That the margins are empty with nowhere to sleep
And the tents get blown over and nobody did it
The house you insisted on making gets locked

An apple a day but we don’t know how many
I never know when it stops putting out ripples
While uncountable dark lakeside undergrowth’s growing
The units are bobbing like geese on the lake

An apple a day and ration the oranges
A day where you cry is a day of accounting
I mean it’s better if you can try to keep counting
Your blessings, undoctored, exposed to the air