Standing in an interminable line at the post office,
I complain about the delay, my busy schedule.
With a little twinkle in her eye, an old woman
ahead of us turns around, smiles, and says,
“No one can waste your time but you, my dear.”
Trying to recall what she possibly could have done
to deserve her fate this lifetime, she realizes that she
can’t find any words in her mind at all. “Rough,”
the dog says, licking herself.
The tender-hearted woman gently probes
beneath the surface of her life, gingerly extricating
shards and their surrounding circumstances.
Like an expert surgeon, she must be careful
to remove them without hooking onto
delicate tissue, too easily torn.
Removing all the space between things,
the speed freak rushes from point A to point B,
unable to see that even an infinite series
of points cannot create a life worth living.
The saxophonist raises his horn to heaven,
lets the stream of notes flow through him,
and out his horn. He takes a breath,
feels the pulse go by and launches into
yet another reason why the sun feels
called on to rise in the sky each morning.
The shopkeeper looks up, his head frozen at an odd angle,
hands bent inward, torso stiff, uncooperative.
But with genuine warmth, he asks, “Can I help you?”
In that moment, it is crystal clear that he just has.
Tripping on acid in the Museum of Natural History,
the young man sees that there are a group of natives
ready to launch their spears his way.
Turning 180 degrees to sneak away, he is confronted
by three huge brown bears standing on
their hind legs, teeth bared. “Shit,” he says.
Rebounding from one unfulfillment
to the next, hopes not so much shattered
as gradually dissolving into thin air, I wonder
how long the human heart can keep going
simply on the fumes of love remembered.
Hungry for more, he ends up precariously
perched on the end of a limb, inside himself.
No recourse but to clamber down,
take a deep breath, brush off, and start over.
Simply feeling his need, he stands chastened—
hands empty, arms open, heart ablaze.
The honeymoon couple, in a tin motor boat,
hundreds of yards out into the ocean, sun setting,
five-foot white caps suddenly appearing.
The bride, in the front of the boat, stands up,
turns around and asks, “Are we going to be all right?”
“Unbelievable,” he thinks, wondering what possessed him.