Poem by Ellen Bass

 

French Chocolates
by Ellen Bass

French Chocolates
by Ellen Bass
If you have your health, you have everything
is something that’s said to cheer you up
when you come home early and find your lover
arched over a stranger in a scarlet thong.

Or it could be you lose your job at Happy Nails
because you can’t stop smudging the stars
on those ten teeny American flags.

I don’t begrudge you your extravagant vitality.
May it blossom like a cherry tree. May the petals
of your cardiovascular excellence
and the accordion polka of your lungs
sweeten the mornings of your loneliness.

But for the ill, for you with nerves that fire
like a rusted-out burner on an old barbecue,
with bones brittle as spun sugar,
with a migraine hammering like a blacksmith

in the flaming forge of your skull,
may you be spared from friends who say,
God doesn’t give you more than you can handle
and ask what gifts being sick has brought you.

May they just keep their mouths shut
and give you French chocolates and daffodils
and maybe a small, original Matisse,
say, Open Window, Collioure, so you can look out
at the boats floating on the dappled pink water.

OPEN 2

                          Open Window at Collioure – Matisse

“French Chocolates” by Ellen Bass from Like a Beggar. © Copper Canyon Press, 2014

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About Bruce Louis Dodson

Bruce Louis Dodson is an American expat now living in Borlänge, Sweden with his wife, cat and dog. He is an artist and world traveler who writes fiction and poetry and practices photography in his less than copious free time. His work has appeared in: Barely South Review - Boundaries Issue, Blue Collar Review, Pulsar Poetry (UK), Foliate Oak, Breadline Press West Coast Anthology . The E-buffet, Qarrtsiluni, Struggle Magazine, Pearl Literary Magazine, Contemporary Literature Review: India, 3rd Wednesday, Sleeping Cat Books - Trip of a Lifetime Anthology, Northern Liberties Review, Authors Abroad - Foreign & and Far Away Anthology, The Path, Page & Spine, The Crucible, Sleeping Cat Books -Trips of a Lifetime, Vine Leaves, Pirene's Fountain,Tic Toc Anthology - Kind of a Hurricane Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Buffalo Almanac and mgv2.
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5 Responses to Poem by Ellen Bass

  1. Yes! Absolutely! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Love it Bruce. Laughed that much I coughed. The accordion polka of my lungs hit a couple of wrong notes there. What I dislike is when people, mainly women say, ‘Pish, it’s only man flu.’ I was sitting in the doctor’s waiting room several months ago, after a trip to hospital to have my lungs drained. I coughed a little and the woman sat next to me said, ‘Hmm, manflu eh?’ I replied, through several wheezes, ‘No, I have emphysema, asthma, influenza A and the last remnants of pneumonia.’ That bloody shut her up and no, I didn’t get any French chocolates at all. 🙂

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