People’s Problems

Back to Issue 13

Loom like storm clouds in a pristine sky.
They overwhelm each person
as if they were the most important to solve.
They disrupt equilibrium. They make the moon weep.

If I hear one person’s small troubles, they blossom
into thorny roses with black petals
I don’t want to touch.
But here we are.

Sometimes I want to row in a boat where there are no roses.
I want a silver lake without a wisp of cloud in it.
The sound: the call of a distant loon, or a bird
I’ve not yet learned to recognize.

Dear God,
is there a problem you haven’t heard?

By Donna J. Gelagotis Lee

Donna J. Gelagotis Lee is the author of Intersection on Neptune (The Poetry Press of Press Americana, 2019), winner of Prize Americana, and On the Altar of Greece (Gival Press, 2006), winner of the Gival Press Poetry Award. Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary and scholarly journals. Her website is