Donald Levering

Small Things

​​Sometimes we’re so surprised to see
how small things have such bearing.

Consider the blockage of my kitchen
plumbing, mother to a month

of inconvenience and bad smell.
It was just a hairpin stuck

in the drain, gathering gunk,
a mere hairpin making hell.

Or take the tiny, errant cell
hidden in Cathleen.

The cancer in her gall bladder
was minuscule, so small

her insurance company
wouldn’t cover the procedure

until it had grown large enough
to spread into her liver.

At her service the church
overflowed with grievers.

Former NEA Fellow Donald Levering won the 2017 Tor House Foundation Award and the 2014 Literal Latté award.  His 7th full-length poetry book, Coltrane’s God, was runner-up for the New England Book festival contest. His previous book, The Water Leveling With Us, placed second in the National Federation of Press Women Competition. Levering’s latest book, Previous Lives, is scheduled for release in 2018. His poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Bloomsbury Review, Commonweal, Hunger Mountain, Notre Dame Review, Poet Lore, Southern Poetry Review, and Stand. He lives in Santa Fe with his wife, the artist Jane Shoenfeld.​