Major Jackson, Ode to Everything

Somehow I have never thought
to thank the ice cream cone
for building a paradise in my mouth,
and can you believe I have never
thought to thank the purple trout lily
for demonstrating its six-petaled dive
or the yellow circle in a traffic light
for illustrating patience. My bad.
In my life, I have failed to praise
the postman whose loyalty is epic,
the laundress who treasures my skinny jeans
and other garments, and the auto repairman
who clangs a wrench inside my car tightening
her own music. Were my name called and I
were summoned on a brightly lit stage to accept
a little statuette, after staring in utter
disbelief, I would thank my dentist
as well as my neighbor who sits vigil
beside the dying far away from the lights,
and my fourth grade teacher who brought
down three-taped rulers on my hands
as punishment for daydreaming out a window
during an exam I already completed. Mea culpa.
Now that I know the value of the peaks
across from Flanders Hill, I will also perennially express
reverence for their green crowns.
I will never fail again to say small devotions for
the scar on a friend’s face that lengthens
when I walk into a room.