the day as sidewalk
It will come upon you like the corner quadrant where goose droppings
mingle with gum wrappers and the straw from a Frappuccino
consumed that first afternoon it became warm enough for shorts.
Some anonymous someone will have ground out their cigarette in the crack
the superstitious kids step over. All of it will look quite mangled and gloomy,
ripe for erasure and and a do-over with a pouring of hot asphalt.
So you will bear down, fold in at the knees and shrink - unsuccessfully -
into someone less susceptible, hoping, simply, to make your way through.
And then, almost missable, a faint etch of two initials with a plus sign between them.
It is a stitch, a scar line, a wink, a map.
the day as sidewalk
7:00 a.m. bagels
Leave the page, dear reader. This is poetry, too: Franklin Street
before the kids slump their way toward the high school
on the opposite side, a man climbing out of his dusty truck,
favoring his left knee, and heaving the shop doors open.
Even if you aren't yet awake, listen to the rattle of change
on the counter as he pays for a medium roast, and look the counter girl
in the eye when you ask for your half-dozen. Never mind that "Everything"
will contain so much salt your mouth will pucker. Never mind you're about to run out
of orange juice. Let the day begin here, with the smell of warmth and sesame seeds,
before you have the language for anything else. Before it has language for you.
Sure, there’s sun. The park is full of it,
the geese dancing in little rings,
the flowers reaching, reaching their petal-fingers.
And yes, little pockets of warm air as I pass
in and out of the shade. The cherry trees are blooming –
this would be evidence enough, even if the breeze still echoes
with a memory of winter. My heart, though,
my heart bears the fullest promise of spring.
My heart is the color of early strawberries,
carrying a hint of the sweetness to come.
clear as their joy and yearning
We were lucky. The weather service predicted rain,
gave us the news with three, four days to prepare,
and we added to our luggage the wardrobe for a downpour.
Not them. Not those bystanders at the race or the runners in it.
They began their day innocent to the fury accompanying their journey.
They did not pause after their early breakfast to consider anything
but the picturesque spring morning they’d woken into.
A perfect day – oh cruel irony – for running.
I imagine them, peering at the sky, clear as their joy and yearning.
This is what I want to remember: all that blue and the season, turning.
Before the call, a letter. Before the letter,
an index finger hovered over a keyboard, on the verge
of the first word. Before that word, a thought coalescing,
a bubble of clarity rising. Before that bubble,
an itch at the neck, a tug at the stomach, some question mark
wagging its tail, obstinate as perfume. Before that perfume,
a fracture, a breakage, a story splitting itself in half, two narratives
spiraling east and west. In the end, it is the memory of wholeness
that beckons us back. And so we dive. Through the split, the question, the bubble,
the word, the letter, to the call that opens, like spring returning, with "It's me."