Various and Sundry Poetry

a dime in the asphalt

It was a day to celebrate but you were so quiet,
eating your Cheerios as a new president took the stands,
your coffee cooling as words spread out into the freezing morning
over a million huddled close, waving their flags.
You felt disassembled, disembodied, not having slept
very well the night before (you told yourself) but really,
let’s be honest here, you felt like you were just
missing the party, too far from the center of things, a negative
ion abandoned, inadvertently, by electrons, and that feeling
clutched at you all day, through a parade and scores of marching bands,
through hand-waving and photo opportunities and
evening gowns and first and last dances.

Maybe it will always be a little like this, you thought
on your way to the car after the sun went down.
Maybe you will never quite touch down into the nuclei
of crowds, never land dead center in a room where
the heat holds itself in the most, never get your lemon tree
to flourish on the back deck, where the sun won’t
land on it long enough. You will have your moments, of course.
You will feel a small glow in your solar plexus,
feel a lover’s tongue on your neck, drink good wine
in front of a winter fire, have a strange dog nuzzle
your bent knees and eat from your open hands.
You will feel such luck, sometimes, the cables of a bridge
rising out of heavy fog, the road hugging your wheels
toward home. Sometimes, it will be slim, this light,
this window, this fragment of suspension. Sometimes,
it will be just a dime in the asphalt. It doesn’t matter.
You will see yourself in that island of nickel and copper,
bordered on all sides by rock and gravity, and that will be enough.
You will lean down and reach for that bright coin,
tuck it in the right pocket of your jeans and think yourself
worthy of this tiny fortune, and know all at once you are proximate
to everything, even when you can’t quite touch it.