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Alison Stone

Poem Inspired by Decluttering


Kondo says our belongings should spark joy.

Make hay in the sunlight. In the dark, joy.


As the drowning cried out, did Noah and

his wife feel guilt or, safe on the ark, joy?


Poe’s raven’s stuck repeating, Nevermore.

The warbler trills longing; the skylark, joy.


Love’s first flush. We kiss in bedrooms, on boats,

near marble generals in the park. Joy,


ours and the world’s, spilling everywhere. Trees

weighed down with blossoms. Cats purr, dogs bark joy.


The felled elephant’s body triggers grief.

The lighting’s zag, fear. The rainbow’s arc, joy.


We overspend and fight about coffee

cup designs. Christmas used to mean, Hark! Joy.


The child’s rambunctious delight. The teen’s

hormone-driven pleasure. The monk’s stark joy.


Worry leaves dark circles. Despair, grey hair

and awkward smiles. Why no mark from joy?


Bottomless CEO’s grab and grab. Stock,

land, water. Soon they’ll try to trademark joy.


Once-abused women take their scarred bodies,

pack away memories. Embark on joy.


Aren’t you bored, Alison, with black clothes and

practiced angst? Why not try, for a lark, joy?

About Alison Stone

Alison Stone has published five full-length collections, Dazzle (Jacar Press, 2018), Masterplan, a book of collaborative poems with Eric Greinke (Presa Press, 2018), Ordinary Magic, (NYQ Books, 2016), Dangerous Enough (Presa Press 2014), and They Sing at Midnight, which won the 2003 Many Mountains Moving Poetry Award; as well as three chapbooks. Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, Barrow Street, Poet Lore, and many other journals and anthologies. She has been awarded Poetry’s Frederick Bock Prize and New York Quarterly’s Madeline Sadin Award. She was recently Writer in Residence at LitSpace St. Pete. She is also a painter and the creator of The Stone Tarot. A licensed psychotherapist, she has private practices in NYC and Nyack.