It rained, despite the forecast. As if,
once again, we could ever get a grip
on things beyond our influence. But listen,
yesterday I learned about “The Speaking
Tradition.” That is to say, a lesson
in civility: whether or not you know me
or are my friend, passing me on the green
you’ll greet me with a smile and look into
my eyes. Hello, said the woman
by the coffee shop. Waiting for the light
to change, I heard a schoolboy hail me
from across the street: Hello, how’s
your day going so far? and I like
your backpack! I don’t know how
to feel about all the cheerfulness sometimes.
Even the horses here are polite, seemingly
politic: they’re trussed in diapers to keep
the air ammonia-free, the streets unmarred
by road apples. I haven’t yet overheard
an argument, a burst of temper, desperate
cello moans issuing from someone’s throat.
Each day the light grows fine as porcelain
and airy, owing to spring. What’s it like when
it’s cold and every hill is lettered in ice?