I sit outside a cafe and read Mary Oliver on a day when for no reason at all, my hope seems to have disappeared. In her words, I find what most find, and to call it a word like respite, would be incomplete despite being true. In the words of others, I find my own voice often, and to not pay homage or credit or even a note of thanks would be terribly unfair in a world where stealing and taking someone’s art for granted is normal, and if not normal, then tolerated. I have built it all—these words, this life, this disposition—on the shoulders of giants, of people who feel larger than the very life they have so much to talk about. But then, all this serious, morbid air lifts off from around me and leaves me on the ivory table and chair amidst the pollen-infused, enthused spring foliage of the garden around the patio. I sit and read the poems, one after the other, stopping only to take a sip of my coffee and sometimes, at the rude honking of the cars right outside, on the other side of the hedge that separates the hustle of the city and my moment of calm. I sit, and I read, and then I stop and check the time.
“Why are you always running?” They ask me, “Why are you always late or just on time? You should calm down and not be in this rush-filled frenzy, this urgency in your heart.”
I look at them and avoid telling them it is because I stop too much. I stop too much to think, to look around, to read a poem. My tardiness is a side-effect of my theft from all of you. All those little moments and minutes add up in the end. All the time I steal from others, I put into these very words that they sometimes (read: rarely) appreciate.
I look at them and want to tell them about this, but then, I keep it tucked under my tongue like a confession you do not make, and it remains there with all the things I do not say but think about day after day.
I wish I said some things out loud. I wish I did. I wish I could. But I have read my poems for now, and the sky is getting darker. There will be time to think about wishes and regrets.
For now, I must hurry and get back home. It seems I am late already.