When the Powers-That-Be want to whip up
a tough day for us, perhaps the behind-the-scenes
preparation would look like this:
“Before we start, please note the sign above me,
‘Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.’
Now that that’s clear, we will begin
today’s bad day recipe with a big
dollop of fears of the unknown—
either large or small ones work equally well.
Go ahead, open the box, don’t be afraid.
(He chuckles, amused at himself.)
In that same package, you’ll notice some long
strands of muscle tension that will end up around
your jaw and eyes. Throw those in the pot, too.
Then we’ll roll out the hard lump of dismay
that shows up at the disappearance of
our capacity to gracefully cope with things.
(Ah, do sit back down, sir, there’s no use
in trying the avoid this mandatory class.)
Next, let’s put in a cup of the stagnant waters
of Nowheresville Creek, where we will be
stranded all day, without a paddle in sight,
fish clicking their teeth around us.
We are allowed to leaven it a bit with
a few drops of elixir of Lessons Learned, but
if the mixture starts to rise too soon, beat it
down with some bitter disappointments—
several in sequence, if necessary.
That should do the trick.
As needed, add some more liquid from the
endless pool of tears we keep buried away
behind everything else in the fridge.
Then mix the ingredients together, but try not
to be intimidated by the big metal
tines as they whip around your head.
As the piece de resistance, we are obliged to
sit by while our born-again family members
pour saccharine advice on top.
It can be messy if the whole thing boils over,
so just try to let it all simmer under the surface
until you are completely burnt, through and through.
It might be tough to stomach, but please
do remember our earlier discussion about the
essential nutrients it contains. Bon appetit.”