There is no good reason.
The sun shrugs from behind
the fog. But everyone
is smiling! I look down
at the sidewalk. Still,
the faces of strangers
cannot be avoided,
their cute mouths curved upwards
and their arms swinging
like happy ropes. I groan
at the sky. I walk by the balloon shop,
past the pack of nannies
pushing carriages bubbling
over with babies. Hoping the mood
might come over me, I go to
the pet store, hold a puppy.
I have two beers at the Squat
‘n Gobble. I have the pie—delicious—
but it doesn’t fix the day. I have
no idea why everyone is smiling.
There must be something
in the water. Something in my hair.
On my face.
Frantic for a mirror,
I crash into the waiter on my way
to the bathroom. He spills two sodas
and a plate of chicken wings.
I’m sorry, I’m sorry,
barbecue sauce on my knees.
And what does he do but laugh?
Why is this mess funny?
He tells me it’s all you can do
in these moments, but now someone
has to wait for their wings. I scan
the room for an agitated face, but
nothing. Everyone is smiling,
into their coffee, out the window,
smiling at their newspapers and at
their friends. It’s like at this minute,
everyone is filled with joy
or the world’s best chicken.
It leaves us in a state of inexplicable
bliss, every mouth softening into sweetness:
we are good, we are happy,
we have wings.