I Open My Arms


by Carol Mikoda

In the stillness before dawn, I work.
From boxes filled with ten thousand things,  
I slowly remove one item after another. 
A photo album. A strainer. A saddle.
Bookends. Salt and pepper shakers, shaped
like snow man and woman. Three tennis balls.
A broken lamp. I sit back on my heels to watch 
as the boxes fill again with a thousand more things. 
All will eventually decay, break, disappear.  
Silently, this happens again and again. Outside 
the open window, though, water cascades 
over rocks, and trees shake their leaves.  
I open my arms to the paradox of such constancy: 
I know my body will die, my molecules re-organize. 
I open my heart, despite what I know,  
to this body and this room, these boxes, these things, 
that creek and waterfall, forest and garden. 
I am the silent queen of this blue-green room,  
in this phoenix of a world that surrounds it.

Carol Mikoda lives along the eastern shore of Seneca Lake, in Hector, New York. She writes mostly in response to natural beauty, and to process her thoughts about the meaning of  material and spiritual existence. Her poems draw heavily on her surroundings in the Finger Lakes,  the original homeland of the living Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Her work has appeared in many literary journals, such as New Feathers Anthology and Capsule Stories. Her first chapbookWhile You Wait, was published late in 2021; her second, Wind and Water, Leaf and Lake, available for pre-order here, will be released by Finishing Line Press in October of 2023.  

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