Look at the clipped grasses! The curb with its
divets. Tell me, could the ribbons of tar
shining in the midday sun be
any more gorgeous?
for the light to turn, for the grey
hulk of hospital to leave the rearview —
waiting for the return of things
or the start of them, or even the
Impatience is a surly thief!
And, shopping, a deficient religion.
I should have known better.
By the time I arrive,
the capris of summer are picked over.
Meanwhile, my sister’s heart flutters
in uncertain alarm and children
dead from cholera in Yemen pile up,
Somehow, I’m alive and shopping for pants.
In the swanky interior, the clack of my sandals
on the polished geometry stirs
sorrow. How it is these days.
“This is it,” my shoes percuss. “This is it.”
Going one place to another, you are never
anywhere but here.
Impatience acts the rude interloper
while uncertainty takes you to your knees.
Later, but not much, I slap my notebook
on the shiny ebon surface of a grand piano
and pull a pen out of my hair. One of
two. There, in the sunlit atrium, a prop of luxury
holds my weight. To one side, the familiar
bronze statue of girl and dog and to the other,
an absence I can’t get used to even though
the beloved fountain’s been gone for years.
(All those pennies tossed and wishes made
two little tow-heads at my side —
where are they now — pennies, wishes, and
boys turned brown-haired men?)
Regret followed far enough
takes you to love.
The Tiffany’s clerk paces
behind jewel-filled cases, not sure
what to make of a woman writing in fury
in the middle of the morning, in the middle of
the atrium and where did
that notebook come from anyway?
the ribbons of tar, the cement divets
polished geometry, regret,
Oh tissue first, silver medallion next and finally,
the tasteful grey bag. The clerk chirps
“Have a good day of shopping,” even as
my ribs smolder about to combust, one hour
being thirty minutes too long.
How much time do we have? Ever?
Tick. Tick. Swipe. Delete.
How much time do we have
to be kind, to be kind,
to preserve the republic?
Fairness gone amok in every quarter
makes a girl want to cry —
even a girl who never cries.
No wonder the ordinary sound
of sandals clacking on
polished tile calls out, “Wake up!
This is it!” rattling up a
ferocious grief twinned
“These are no ordinary times.” Say.
Repeat. Do nothing. The acts
held in reserve depend on gross
miscalculations of risk — as if we
have time and time and more time?
Tick. Tick. Delete. Swipe.
Regret followed far enough
leads to damnation.
Would the clerk in Tiffany’s understand
why a woman wails in the bathroom
corridor given our collective failure
or would she choose not to hear?
You lean your frantic frame against the
silent instrument, hoping to leave
behind more than the echoes of impatience
or a sweaty hand print that the cleaners
will have to buff off later.
Let me be kind. Let me speak up. Let
me pause long enough
to give thanks.
Regret expressed deeply enough always
turns into prayer.
The ribbons of tar, the polished geometry,
vanished pools and children, wishes
gathered and held in regions unknown.