To Glorious Failures

Now that the season is turning,
how will the green fruit that never
ripened all summer on the vine—

hard, compact, practically snubbed
by the birds— ever make up
for their inability to perform?

Hurrying to meet an appointment,
how did we manage to wait that hot
length of time as an extended family

of geese began to cross the road?
I have daughters who call me almost
every day, to let me know

how they are doing— I had not,
until recently, seen one of them
for nearly 17 years. The other

is in her seventh year in school,
still trying to make it to that
finish line. I’ve watched them

with their struggles; and listen
as they pour out their woes
on the other end

of the telephone line.
Sometimes I hold my head
in my hands, or late at night

stare sleepless at the ceiling,
wondering if I have failed them
somehow. I heard someone speak

today about glorious failures—
about a long trail of little mistakes
scratching against the dark surface

before the one singular triumph
bursts forth as if in flame.
Edison once said, I now know

definitely over 9,000 ways
an electric lightbulb will not work
That kind of stamina the courage

required to make a fool of oneself—
not hiking the Himalayas barefoot,
nor skydiving without a parachute—Just

cheering every crossing from one ordinary
day to another, in spite of knowing each
comes to its conclusion without any help.

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