Poem Beginning with a Line from Paige Lewis

by Zoë Fay-Stindt
After Paige Lewis’s “I’ve Been Trying to Feel Bad for Everyone” 
originally printed in the fall 2016 issue of
the Colorado Review

I know it isn’t always 
about suffering. I mean, 
just yesterday on a soppy 

trail of gunked gravel, 
an orange newt. An orange 
fucking newt! Rash slap 

of color in my small morning 
blues. And you’re telling me 
there’s no higher spirit 

when bright orange lizards 
run around all specked 
with spots and looking 

into your eyes with their eyes 
on a Tuesday? And then 
fistfuls, I mean fistfuls 

of daisies lining the way out. 
On the incline, someone 
set up a rickety chair

to watch for god 
knows what, surrounded 
by a series of pulleys 

and levers, so probably 
that house is one we should 
mostly avoid I guess, sure, 

but anyway, did you know
the tulip poplars shading 
these hills are nicknamed 

fiddle-trees for their leaves 
shaped like tiny violins? 
All around, green symphonies 

floating down to greet us, 
everyone today a little extra 
puffed up, all brazen 

in their bedazzlement, 
all fussed with care. 
And when I walked by 

the chicken coop, reader, 
the chickens walked me home. 
One got loose with her three chicks

and after a week 
of freedom surrounded 
by lord knows what kind 

of roaming teeth, they’re all 
still clucking along. Isn’t that 
a good sign? The teenagers 

next door called me 
beautiful when I passed, 
two young creatures 

climbing a bloomed crabtree 
and I swear I felt a dozen wounds 
zip shut inside me all at once. 

I know I’ve been writing 
a lot about death because 
there’s been a lot of death 

recently, but I promise 
to braid the soft and hard 
in equal measure, to try 

being a little funnier 
in my fireside tellings 
so we can pace

each joy-hunt, paint 
our skins in a sheen 
so dizzying only the sun 

might recognize us, god-burst 
orange, and go crawling gleeful 
along the path on all fours.

Image credit: Tyler Donaghy