My common town looks so different when I wander it
with a curious stranger, telling the usual stories, how we took
the beer money to put in the grand stained glass windows.
The sky so blue that one could believe in forgiveness,
that our blunders and our grand ambitions will all be forgiven.
So much wasted time, yet the world seems almost intact.
Even the empty chairs are exactly where they should be.
The yellow sign is not the sun. But we get plenty of sun.
The neighbors can talk all morning and we’ll talk right back,
we don’t claim to be great but we are pretty good,
humble too but not in the dark Puritan way, more like
the common unlovely robins than the worms they live on,
the robins that lay their powder-blue eggs and let the shells
fall where they may, the prettiest parts of their lives, tossed
after a week or two. The days scroll past, dusky-rose evenings
glaring at the tv, red dawns groaned into the pillow,
sleeping off the latest mistakes. It would be easier without
the fear. But where do we put that down to rest, whose pockets
are big enough to hide it? It’s true that worry never saved
anybody, but sunny optimism only works for Rudy, and
every time he says Never better! he’s closer to a bruising.
Sure, the bald cypress is beating the odds again, sure
the mallards are shiny and plump with lust and spring,
their eggs warming in the flower beds. Who can live on that?