I know what you are to that pair of stink bugs, each seeming to pause in its path to make way for the other, and to
The vivacious algae, grooving full-tilt on the inside of the fish tank.
I know what you are to the fish.
I know what you are to vegans and cows, to moss and paper, to
Muslims and to flowers, fresh or dried … also to
Kentucky women and stunt men, hand models, leather belts,
Republicans, nuts, mathematicians and trapeze artists, run-away elephants, chocolates,
Babies of all species, natural fibers, gamers and monks, shells, dirt, Etsy shop owners, “happy creatures dancing on the lawn,”
People who know they’re dying soon, downed trees filled with munching grubs, nurse practitioners (God bless ’em), and
Maybe even aliens (from outer space).
It was back in the pitted, confused, brain-sweltering days of much younger years when I first learned — from the soggy pages of an Omni (or similar) magazine that I’d taken into the tub with me, as I often did. I craved information that seemed to stretch time out so far and wide that my life, all life, became a dot and all meaning disappeared.
That you — in your simplest, most basic, dark and un-shining form — were at the bottom of it all made me feel better. YES, knowing that we’d all whipped ourselves up from the flat, black palm of your four-fingered hand, this made me feel better. And better was best, then.
But since then, better has me agreeing to “follow up” visits with Mormon boys on bikes, has me talking so long to homeless people they beg my pardon (have somewhere to be), has me listening and watching (waiting?) for something — I’m not sure what. I settle for cake. Then I make a list I will never look at again. I think of you, sometimes.
But I no longer try to meet, let alone hold, your opaque, sooty gaze. I want to see past, to who you’re working with.