Who Is Most Among Us

Sherman Alexie

“Life is a constant struggle between being an individual and being a member of the community.”

Sherman Alexie

Ode to Gray

by Sherman Alexie (1966 –

Has anybody written an ode to gray?
Well, if not, let me be the first. Let me praise
The charcoal pit, tweed suit, and cloudy x-ray
That reveals, to your amateur dismay,
Nothing you understand. Who has been amazed
Enough to write a breathy love song to gray and gray’s
Nearly imperceptible interplay
With other grays? O, how beautiful the haze
Of charcoal pits, tweed suits, and cloudy x-rays
Of airport luggage. I love the dog day,
The long delay, and existential malaise.
Has anybody written an ode to gray?
If not, then let me proceed without delay.
O, let me construct an army made of clay.
Marching, marching, they will be my ode to gray,
To charcoal pit, tweed suit, and cloudy x-ray.

Grief Calls Us to the Things of This World

by Sherman Alexie


The morning air is all awash with angels . . .
            .                                         .      – Richard Wilbur

The eyes open to a blue telephone
In the bathroom of this five-star hotel.

I wonder whom I should call? A plumber,
Proctologist, urologist, or priest?

Who is most among us and most deserves
The first call? I choose my father because

He’s astounded by bathroom telephones.
I dial home. My mother answers. “Hey, Ma,

I say, “Can I talk to Poppa?” She gasps,
And then I remember that my father

Has been dead for nearly a year. “Shit, Mom,”
I say. “I forgot he’s dead. I’m sorry—

How did I forget?” “It’s okay,” she says.
“I made him a cup of instant coffee

This morning and left it on the table—
Like I have for, what, twenty-seven years—

And I didn’t realize my mistake
Until this afternoon.” My mother laughs

At the angels who wait for us to pause
During the most ordinary of days

And sing our praise to forgetfulness
Before they slap our souls with their cold wings.

Those angels burden and unbalance us.
Those fucking angels ride us piggyback.

Those angels, forever falling, snare us
And haul us, prey and praying, into dust.

Published by

A Sonnet Obsession

I am a life-long Minnesotan who resides in Minneapolis. I hope you enjoy my curated selection of sonnets, short poems and nerdy ruminations. I am pleased to offer Fourteenlines as an ad and cookie free poetry resource, to allow the poetry to be presented on its own without distractions. Fourteenlines is a testament to the power of the written word, for anyone wanting a little more poetry in their life.

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