Instructions for Dealing With a Loved One’s Anger

by Robert Joe Stout —

Treat it like a gift from some unique

and distant planet: Never question

how it works, was born or grows.


Admire all its strange, magnificent

quick turnings. Like a beast

in its own jungle, it must run.


Hail and lightning hurt

only when you fight against them.

Never try to thwart the force they hurl.


Say to yourself: I am

a house exposed to a wild fire;

What must I protect and what let go?


Sometimes it’s best to think of sandy beaches.

What each grain washed by the tides endures.

And how, when daybreak softens surf

to opaque yellow, broken shells

will glimmer like real jewels.

Robert Joe StoutRobert Joe Stout writes, reads and goes to baseball games in Oaxaca, Mexico and shares sofa and computer space with his Siamese cat. His fiction has appeared in And/Or, Sin Fronteras, Southern Humanities Review and his poetry has received Pushcart Prize nominations. He earned a B.A. in journalism from Mexico City College, has served on human rights delegations and remembers the year he lived in San Francisco. See