Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.
Let us praise the ghost gardens
of Gary, Detroit, Toledo—abandoned
lots where perennials wake
in competent dirt and frame the absence
of a house. You can hear
the sound of wind, which isn’t
wind at all, but leaves touching.
Wind itself can’t speak. It needs another
to chime against, knock around.
Again and again the wind finds its tongue,
but its tongue lives outside
of its rusted mouth. Forget the wind.
Let us instead praise meadow and ruin,
weeds and wildflowers seeding
years later. Let us praise the girl
who lives in what they call
a transitional neighborhood—
another way of saying not dead?
Or risen from it? Before running
full speed through the sprinkler’s arc,
she tells her mother, who kneels
in the garden: Pretend I’m racing
someone else. Pretend I’m winning.