251 Readings

Wilmot Here, Collect For Stella; Or What Makes A Life

When sperm hits egg—  us collapsed on a kitchen
table.  The building’s elevator
where we met; our dinner I couldn’t afford.
In a different moment we might claim that time
made for the kids’ sports games or teaching the cure
for athlete’s foot— showing the white powder
in their shoes’ll go away if they jump three times
up and down so other kids won’t poke fun—
could be where a life is made, but that’s easy.
What about the first boyfriend?  The sentimental
card pressed between plastic picture album
pages, that damned vase we still keep filled
up on the mantel with flowers?  We could take
a hardwood spin in tall heels and polished
shoes, find out what rhythm means, everyone else
staring as if they don’t know their legs
aren’t wooden.  What happens if we break it down
to brass tacks?  Talk about the equity in our home,
the car, the boat we don’t own yet but keep saying
we’ll buy?  What about our investments?
Something to leave the little ones, the wife,
because we’re going to die first.  You know we will.
It’s just in the cards—  but what about those nights
spent playing games as if time wasn’t
on a watch,  as if we didn’t fashion time into a circle.
Maybe what makes a life isn’t the simple
understanding a day is moved through,  but in
its repetition:  every day—  eating, sleeping,
thinking about sex, thinking about how we might
do something different, about how our parents are
sick and action must be taken—  something
to make something else happen.  What if we don’t
want to learn something every day we didn’t know
yesterday? There’s no stopping thought
until we die and isn’t it scary that such thoughts
go on and isn’t it scarier that we don’t
know what else to do?
Posted 04/08/13
"Wilmot Here, Collect For Stella; Or What Makes A Life" first appeared in Smartish Pace