Moving, changing, not moving—

In the brick-lined interior
of a coffee shop, an Asian man
seated at the communal table
has closed his eyes: in his ears,
a pair of earphones plugged into
his cell. All around, people
coming in from the street
fan themselves with magazines
or folded papers. It’s so hot
there’s more than a high
demand for iced coffees
and teas, water and ice;
and parents with little
children fall in line outside
the gender-neutral bathrooms.
How long has he sat like that?
How long will he stay?
One of my daughters says
she went on a date recently
to a nearby botanical garden,
but the corpse flower
they’d wanted to see
had already opened.
Not even its decline
was left to observe—
the pleated spathe
lined with burgundy,
now just a wilted sac
around the spadix.
Wasn’t it St. Theresa
who said Let nothing
disturb you, Let nothing
frighten you, All things
are passing away?
O
my heart, still so slow
at learning how to walk
the perimeter of dying:
the motionless man,
the Saturday crowd,
the inflorescence marked
with the stench of rotten
meat and putrid cheese,
sweaty socks and sweet-
heavy ammonia; a sudden
downpour that brings
a haze of petrichor
up from dry soil.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.