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
into the shoulder of tomorrow,
sometimes forgetting how i got here,
even why i came.
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.
“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;
patronization leavened with
the plasticity of the dough, polite pink font
smiling up at me with closed lips.
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.