lost

like a child in a cornfield,
unable to see over the ears
but knowing he should be
among heads of lettuce.
or like Christmas in a warm November,
tottering with cogwheeled gait
toward the brink of a wrong season

i find myself
running headlong
into the shoulder of tomorrow,
sometimes forgetting how i got here,
even why i came.

diary, friday june 27

it’s late on a friday afternoon and
i sit barefoot on a couch that isn’t mine
thoughtlessly prying dead scabs from my feet,
red and raw from the dress shoes
i wore to a wedding
which also wasn’t mine,

a mere courtesy of presence
where i arrived late and
stopped to dance only one slow, slow dance,
smiling at the camera all the while.

nearly quitting time on friday, and
i look out a window which belongs to someone else,
but i’ve opened the shades half of the way
and they rest, crooked, on a curtainless sill
deep enough to sit in;
i don’t dare.

someone’s thrown a rock, and the glass is cracked
in one of the center panes; i can just see it through the blinds.

dreaming of home on a friday but
my fingers as they type don’t smell like my own.
it’s as if they knew i was dissembling,
that they should be doing  some other work, following
a destiny which i surely didn’t sign up for.

strangely, the smell is of mice, caged, fed
and raised for breeding.  i wonder
what that means.

sometimes destiny sticks in my throat

“You will find yourself,”

said the half-inch slip of thin paper

folded carefully inside a mass-produced shell

of blandness and sugar that had been

haphazardly tossed on the fake-mica table;

an afterthought,

patronization leavened with

the plasticity of the dough, polite pink font

smiling up at me with closed lips.

“Tomorrow,”

I silently added, allowing half the dry-witted confection

to slide awkwardly past my tongue,

admitting a departure from the normal

innuendo of things,

worn out from searching

down the wrong alleys

and fumbling in a darkness

of too many wrong turns.

The other half, meanwhile,

lay rejected to one side

of a cheap patterned plate,

clean now but for a grease-stained napkin

crumpled on top.

I wonder, does destiny always taste

like the memory of shiny heels

kicking relentlessly against

the back of a pew, shuffling forward

with hands folded toward the front

of the communion line?

For “tomorrow” I would have swallowed it whole.