“Bless you” to the spouse in the middle of another sneezing fit prompted by an allergen
you can’t control. “Bless you” because each riotous interruption places you square
in the room with an affliction your DNA somehow managed to avoid, and someone else –
in this case, a person you love who shares your address – keeps taking one for the team.
And “Bless you” because, while for one of you that itch at the back of the nose has become
rote as the mailman’s arrival, the pile of tissues perpetual like the circulars
mounting in the trash, there is something of a pause the stack offers your attention,
and the sound of a body shaking against its unshakeable rival a reminder of the paradox
survival demands, a ceaseless war between resistance and acceptance. You say “Bless you”
because how else could you possibly thank the dust-filled wind that blew you here together?

Posted by kind permission of the poet.

Maya Stein

Maya Stein

About the author

Maya Stein is a Ninja poet, writing guide, and creative adventuress. She has kept a weekly short-form poetry practice, “10-line Tuesday” since 2005, and facilitates writing workshops in person and online. After a 7-year stint in suburban New Jersey, she is now happily ensconced in the wilds of mid-coast Maine, in a house named Toad Hall. Connect with her at mayastein.com. (Photo by Chris Battaglia)