Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dear God

It’s time I resume. I am feeling on the cusp of everything and nothing. I walk the streets of my neighborhood and am struck by the fact that one street can feel happy and welcome, and then just one street over can feel scary and distraught. I weave my way up and down parallel streets; one is cheery, while the next is distressed, back and forth like some kind of necessary, balanced rhythm. The up and the down. The evil and the good. On one of the pleasant streets, I notice a poem tacked up in front of a well-tended garden. At the top it says “poem of the week.” This week’s selection is called “The Two-Headed Calf” by Laura Gilpin. I read it and feel compelled to know a person such as this who lives at a dead end street and takes the care to share a poem each week to no one, to anyone, and to everyone. Instead, I make my way back down the same street and make eye contact with a dog lounging on his stoop. He lifts his head to let me know that he sees me. I smile back to let him know that I know that he knows. I make my way across the street and towards the river’s edge. A shirtless man is digging through a dumpster and pulling out recyclables. I wonder how much he earns from each haul, where he lives, and how he spends his money. Booze? Women? Shelter? I make my way down the dock and walk out the length of the pier. The way it extends over the river, I feel like I’m walking on water. On the horizon, the blue sky bleeds red. As I make my way back, I notice an empty can on the pier. I scoop it up and walk it over to the shirtless man. “You collecting cans?” “Yep.” As he takes it from me he says, “Thanks.” I reply, “Thank you.”

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