If I do not witness these leaves turning orange, who will?
I stir myself:
I like to think
Of myself as a reincarnated Poet from the Tang Dynasty,
Dehydrated orange drink
Astronauts gulped orbiting this planet
That became a fun ‘60’s breakfast staple,
The bitter tang of a car’s squealing tires as it peels out,
Any distinguishing characteristic that provides special individuality.
Isn’t it a very personal moment when each of us
Recognizes we are failing,
That we’re incomplete, outdated perhaps,
& need something new to make us valid,
Sobbing on the mudroom floor,
Praying hands through a broken screen door,
Begging the aftermath of someone to come back,
Or watching our planet grow
Smaller below us
That we discover it is
To ever become
One hundred percent reconstituted?
I am not where I am right now, in this autumn.
My mind is not what it used to be either.
There is no more just-add water.
None of us can prove our previous lives.
I mean pervious: I meant disprove:
My closest friend emigrated West, petrified
To hop a jet back home; I exist in an equally isolated
East where fish are oblivious to their own
Water, where one loon separates from its flock.
Wind’s kiteless. Names of friends drift away but acquaintances
Remain vivid. What benefit remedy when no symptoms
Equate to any known disease? I pack my anthropomorphic
Lunch: blood oranges, artichoke hearts, kidney beans,
& yes I’ve digested & regurgitated my children or maybe
Vice versa. After rain, I dig for night crawlers under decomposing
Clippings. I fish to be elsewhere, the hoped for thrill & tug
Of the straightening line, the bass that surface trying to spit
The hook. An acquaintance whose wife is very ill articulates
In detail her ailments, positions his easel by the lake, pastels,
Water colors, his stagnant landscapes with finite rectangular skies.
In my middle life, more than ever, I need a once upon a time.
I forget how easy it is to forget—can’t imagine starting
Anything new. I used to love the satisfying finality
At the conclusion of movies when a giant The End
Flashed across the Big Screen. Maybe one solution:
We could all change our names every day. That loon,
Nursing a mangled wing, paddles lopsided, alone,
Unnaturally close to shore, as though attached with kite string.
I toss him the not quite stale bread I smuggle from my pantry
& have been thinking hard about a name for him, for this.
Unapologetically, I settle for the moment of least astonishment.