“It’s all empty, empty,” he said to himself. “The sex and drugs. The violence, especially.” So he went down into the world to exercise his virtue, thinking maybe that would help. He taught a little kid to build a kite. He found a cure, and then he found a cure for his cure. He gave a woman at the mercy of the weather his umbrella, even though icy rain fell and he had pneumonia. He settled a revolution in Spain. Nothing worked. The world happens, the world changes, the world, it is written here, in the next line, is only its own membrane— and, oh yes, your compassionate nature, your compassion for our kind.
Copyright © 2018 by Vijay Seshadri. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 1, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.