Smile – a prose poem by Laura Stamps


Looking, looking. Through a box of postcards. Her collection. All these postcards. Must be a hundred by now. Maybe more. At least. And then she finds it. The one with the photo of a Yorkie. Yes. That’s the one. That postcard. “Dear Elaine,” she writes. “When I was meditating this morning. You know. Mindful breathing. Watching my breath. Concentrating on that. Inbreath, outbreath. Inbreath, outbreath. Like Thich Nhat Hanh teaches. I had a revelation. Thich would call it “insight.” I know. But it felt bigger than that. Bigger. Much, much. It was this. That I don’t need anything. To be happy. That happiness can only be found in the present moment. Here. Now. No matter where I am. Anywhere. With anyone. Or without. I can be happy. In this moment. I mean. I used to think I needed something. You know. To be happy. That I needed to move to another city. To have more friends. To participate in more activities. Everything we’re taught we need. To be happy. But that’s not true. Happiness. It’s already here. Now. In me. In this present moment. I don’t need anything else. To be happy. None of us do. Imagine that? Light. So light. That’s how I felt. And free. That too. Anyway. I thought I’d mention this. To give you a smile. If you haven’t had one. Today. If you’re not smiling. Already. Like me. Right now. Smiling, smiling. Sorry. I can’t stop.”   

Laura Stamps loves to play with words in her fiction and prose poetry. Author of 48 novels, novellas, short story collections, and poetry books. Most recently: CAT MANIA (Alien Buddha Press 2021), DOG DAZED (Kittyfeather Press 2022), and THE GOOD DOG (Prolific Pulse Press 2023). Nominations: Pulitzer Prize (1) and Pushcart (7).  

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