Various and Sundry Poetry

This might have been it, the window seat, 14A, on the Delta flight to Atlanta with the man in 14B with the ruined left thumbnail and the woman beside him deep in the heart of romance novel. This might have been it, Palm Sunday and April Fool's, the cloud layer out of Hartford and the sky a perfectly perfect blue and the flight attendant with teh whitest teeth you've ever seen. Or this could have been it, the mashed-up front of your Toyota Echo on the back roads of Western Massachusetts in the middle of an eerily early snowstorm, with your friend beside you with the aunt who died on this same day 15 years ago thousands of feet over Nova Scotia. Or this: a tumor the size of an Easter egg hugging the top quadrant of your spinal cord, and the slow diminishment of your body before the surgeons took over. This might have been it, the Rogue River in Oregon when you were 25 and catapulted underneath and inside the great rapids in your tiny, inflatable kayak. Or this, like poor Reggie Lewis with the Boston Celtics, his young heart failing in the middle of practice some spring afternoon. Or this, just now: the labyrinth and the trio of horses and the tree that may or may not be a dogwood, and Southern birds singing their late afternoon song, and the white mug of strong coffee Celeste made to your right, and the sound of the wicker chair as you write in your near illegible cursive on this first Monday in April. All of it, interrupted by an unforeseen meteor or brain stem stroke like the one Deb's brother had which took away everything except his memory of math. This might have been it, the awkward confrontation with your mother, the long silence with your brother, the fall at the Embarcadero ice rink, the first time you knew you were making love with someone else, the panna cotta you made from scratch with whole vanilla bean, your kitchen morphing into Madagascar, the sunburn from that black sand beach in Barbados, the crossword puzzle you fought your sister for, the lightning storm on Skinner Mountain, the algebra test you barely passed, the knowing that swept you like a flood out the door with a single suitcase and a one-way ticket. This might have been it, but it wasn't. It wasn't. You weren't. You squirreled into a small patch of good luck. You blinked a sliver of light into the rooms of your dark house. You found the fingers of a hand that came out of nowhere to look for yours. You rose from your knees and lived.