159 Readings


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.

Posted 07/01/15
Originally published in Red Wheelbarrow
Comments (0)