I am never more human
than when I’m riding next to someone
who makes me shudder.
I am human as I sit and I wonder about their life
the way their hair curls to the left instead of the right,
if it was on purpose or done with curlers, or if everything in life is just accidental.
She probably didn’t care which way her hair curled. Neither do I. But I do care
about the way her ankles look with them crossed, about the way her eyes are angled
out the window, about the way her jaw clenches when we hit a bump. It probably clenches
the same way when her boyfriend is ******* her.
I sit on the bus, shuddering and wondering about the bus riders’ lives. They’re probably the same
as mine, as yours, as the guy’s who is behind me, digging his knees
into the green leather of my seat, which is cracking at the edges. I see a piece
of yellow foam pushing out the edge, and I cannot resist the urge to play with it.
The person who sat here before me probably did, too. We cannot help but play with things,
always hoping we’re never the one to finally break it.
We are all the same, we all live to love, or love to live,
or maybe we don’t,
but we take comfort in knowing that we will all die one day
whether its on purpose or by accident, though it is always accidental.
But maybe we really are different, after all,
we’ve come a long way, from discovering fire to discovering better ways to put it out,
concocting new chemicals to cure every ailment,
fabricated or organic, physical or mental,
and I cannot get out of my mind that
our minds revolve around the world which revolves around the stars,
the ones in the theaters and the ones in the skies, the ones on the covers of magazines
like People and Science Weekly—inside they’re half advertisements—
how else do we advance in the world without cash?
Their covers are full of sequins and *** tips and shuttles with surveillance
cameras snapping photos as they watch our every move
from behind the cover of the planets who grin with the knowledge they will never reveal,
because they, too, are plotting against us.
Tonight we are under the cover of the blankets and I am watching her just as we are watched by
the planets that spin and the stars that shine and the moon that just wants to see the light of day
because she only knows the dark of night,
and the eclipse of her *******
eclipses the eclipse of the moon,
and the cross around her neck is blinding me with reflected light and reflected values
and I can’t look away but I can’t look at it
because I want to deny it but I want to accept it and
I marvel at how one taste of her
can show me what it is like to be saved.
First three lines from "All-American Poem" by Matthew Dickman. Based on his style. Feedback welcome.