by Paul Hooker

is a delicious word, too fine
to use dismissively, like “Thanks,”
half-mumbled at held-open doors
to a stranger passing in life’s oncoming lane,
or when receiving a pack of gum from
a clerk’s hand in some convenience store.
Grateful must linger on the palate, be savored
until the juice of gratitude has passed
across the tongue and down the throat
into the stomach, been digested and dispatched
throughout the bloodstream, so it is possible
to feel, to think, to speak, to hope, to live.