Menu

That kid

If they were made of glass, the new Spring
sun couldn’t light and gleam upon those thin
brown branches, slightly wet, any more strongly
I admire a squirrel, how it scurries beneath
that shiny wet tree and buries some acorns
They say grey squirrels forget and won’t
find again most of what they bury

“I’m 80 years old, what do you think
you can do to punish me that my life
doesn’t do to me now?”
“Guilty” intoned Matt’s Catholic gay friend
Scott, who used to raise his rather placid
grey cat above his head and in stentorian
tones proclaim “You are all guilty”

Few can be so crude and sweet at once
It’s like the tuna fish sandwiches I’d have
as a kid—I’d have one each day until I didn’t
Retirement is like that too—I’d go
to work until the day that I didn’t
Though a good nutritionist would say
you shouldn’t try to survive on

tinned fish, sugary drinks, and
poufy white bread alone,
it’s sure fun, sometimes, to try
There she was partially blocking
the aisle in her wheelchair at
the diner, a benign old grandma
Next to her sits and fusses her

condescending, solicitous healthcare aide,
who asks “What kind of sandwich do you
want, Marge? Didn’t you want some lemonade?”
Across from her is her grandson, I think
He’s a hairy brown-faced adolescent
who orders a burger and seems
both bored and embarrassed to be here

I throw it all off and think,
“If something is precious to me
shouldn’t it be precious to you?”
And then I think “No, that doesn’t
have to be true” and then I think
“This situation is already broken
but only in the sense that the glass

in your hand is already broken”
as the Zen masters will tell you
“It’s broken” “At last, at last”
my sweet friend says “Can you believe it?
At last, at last, it’s such a fine day”
My niece really hates Ohio, she says
She hates it almost as much as my dad did

“When you cry” says the sage
“cry with your whole heart”
He’s like a weatherman
who hedges his predictions—
He exaggerates some coming snow
or rain event because he knows you
won’t be mad if things turn out better

Maybe my inner jellyfish me
as it pulsates and pulsates and
happily quests or frustrates and
demands for its pleasures
is like a cookbook in which every
dish, no matter what its ingredients
or name, all taste the same

Mother made me—
Her beauty is my buried fine light
My brother died in disgrace
because he looked at forbidden
photographs, because he had to see
what shouldn’t be seen and I see now
how someone can die in a body that lives

As a kid I wanted to fly
like Superman or Peter Pan
I even dove off of the couch head
first in a wish, convinced that I
could fly and even though I
hit the ground hard I was right—
That kid really knew how to fly

 

 

-April 21, 2018-