Timely Poems, Selected by Stephanie Carney

Self-Care by Solmaz Sharif

Have you tried
rose hydrosol? Smoky quartz
in a steel bottle

of glacial water? Tincture
drawn from the stamens
of daylilies grown
on the western sides

of two-story homes?
Pancreas of toad?
Deodorant paste?

Have you removed
your metal fillings? Made peace
with your mother? With all
the mothers you can? Or tried

car exhaust? Holding your face
to the steaming kettle?
Primal screamed into

a down-alternative pillow
in a wood while tree-bathing?
Have you finally stopped
shoulding all over yourself?

Has your copay increased?
Right hip stiffened?
Has the shore risen

as you closed up the shop?
And have you put your weight
behind its glass door to keep
the ocean out? All of it?

Rang the singing bowl
next to the sloping toilet?
Mainlined lithium?

Colored in another mandala?
Have you looked
yourself in the mirror
and found the blessed halo

of a ring light in each iris?
Have you been content enough
being this content? Whose

shop was it?

Self-Care  by James Crews

Some days it feels like a foreign language
I’m asked to practice, with new words
for happiness, work, and love. I’m still learning
how to say: a cup of tea for no reason,
what to call the extra honey I drizzle in,
how to label the relentless urge to do more
and more as poison. And how to translate
the heart’s pounding message when it comes:
enough, enough. This morning, I search for words
to capture the glimmering sun as it lifts
above the mountains, clouds already closing in
as fat droplets of rain darken the deck.
I’m learning to call this stillness self-care too,
just standing here, watching goldfinches
scatter up from around the feeder like pieces
of bright yellow stained-glass, reassembling
in the sheltering arms of a maple.

From James Crews:
Invitation for Writing & Reflection: Write about an instance when you were especially kind to yourself,
perhaps taking the time and making space for more gratitude in your life.