This poem was selected by Poetry in Plain Sight, a program in Winston-Salem that displays poetry on posters in over 20 locations throughout Winston-Salem’s Arts District and downtown, as well as in transit buses. The goal is to bring poetry to a wider audience and to support North Carolina poets.

(For Billy Collins)

You are the coffee mug and the honey,
the wax and the sponge,
and the pink roses blushing against our house.
You are the laundry folder, the trash collector,
the dishwasher, and the Barbecue King.

However, you are not the mop,
the vacuum cleaner or the Fantastik.
You are certainly not the water
running down our tap
into my used Dasani bottle.

It is possible you are the old ice cubes
in our freezer. Maybe you’re even
the Tupperware containers tumbling
on the floor every other day.
Perhaps you resemble the pear trees
in our front yard, but not quite.
Not quite.

Speaking on the imagery of the domestic world,
I am the sound of coffee brewing at 6:30 am on Monday.

I also am the soft eggs
you break in the metal bowl,
the milk you taste in your coffee
and the lemon you bisect for our evening tea.

I am also the glass vase, the dishtowels,
and the ironing board.
But don’t worry,
I am not the coffee mug and the honey,
nor the roses that bloom for a few days.
You must always be the rose I place in my vase.