Sad Dictionary


Sad Dictionary

Give me a little time, if you will,
to understand how the past can just come and go,
resembling birds converging on a windowsill
and then dispersing, each with work to do.

In your yard today I looked at your tree
and imagined a place where pine needles
snow down all year, and the maple’s leaves,
all ocher, litter broken walkways. And me?

Well, I sat thinking the same dark things
I have thought since childhood. You know the ones.
I need not explain them to you, of all people.
It’s so easy to call things “dark” — a kind of lazy

shorthand for “sad.” Too easy to forget how to define
your creed on days like today — everyone needs to
be happy in your eyes. We both know this is not possible,
that it’s a lie. I mean, take last night–

How can one be happy in your eyes? Sometimes, I
convince myself that all this will never fall away, barring
the “cruel to be kind” thing and all that. Dark things,
yes; here I am again.

Then, I get so scared of the pine needles, the maple leaves,
the crow perched on his balcony waiting to be fed
and watching us. My own voice mumbling in a strange room.

Easy to worry. Always easy. And my Lutheran
mother who lectured me on this? She danced herself
to dust with worry. But I am not ready, just yet,
to be completely broken. I have a few things left in me,
a few surprises.

No magic is as good as your magic, but I have
hidden cards pressed against my wrist,
a few coins slipped behind the watch, just for us.
I still have a few tricks left to play, and this

light shifting through the library window,
ricocheting off the stacks, I know
what it means. I get what you are trying to get at.
I am here, with our song, I am here.

And yes, sometimes things defy definition, and some things
cannot be understood, so all I can do today is rise
from this chair to greet the afternoon. Breathe slower and slower.
Wait for you to blind me with another storm of hot stars.


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