The construction of bridges
can lead to the forgetting of rivers
and the strengthening of commerce.
In this way, thoughts
can erect theoretical scaffolding
to cross safely the tidal pools of the heart.
This is far more efficient
than wading through
marsh and muck each
morning, once in each direction,
to pick up the day’s fresh batch of metrics.
Less smelly, too.
One day I was walking the planks
when a great wind came up
and I went tumbling over the side,
straight into a teeming soup.
My legs and arms sprawling in all directions,
I must have looked like
a somersaulting human star plunging
down from the heavens.
I brayed in panic
and thrashed wildly in the goo,
certain that at any moment
leeches or leviathans
would emerge from the darkness below
and violate me forthwith,
ending me immediately, or worse…
leave me alive with a festering complication.
When the adrenalin wore off
I collected myself
and swam for the nearest structure
in desperate lunges,
aching with the knowledge
I had made contact with something
that could never be washed off entirely,
trying not to breathe or swallow.
The doctors could find nothing wrong,
but I have not been the same since.
Now I catch myself stopping
half way across some bridge
to look over the side,
to stare transfixed at
the patterns of swirling water below,
unable to shake the vertiginous feeling
that I am peering into
the very meaning of Existence
like the weird ant in the colony
who glanced straight at the sun
that every leaf has a Plan.
The other night
the moon was full
and I found myself
sneaking through empty streets
then across the damp grass of my neighbor’s lawn
to clamber down some rip rap,
banging my shins
and nicking my hands and feet,
just to get closer.
Next day I have a look about me
they can only explain in certain ways,
and none of them good.
Closer to what? they ask.
I open my mouth to speak,
but only empty space comes out,
like you’d find inside a hollowed-out tree
where last year an owl lived.
That isn’t a fair question.
Silence places Her hand on my back.
She is my sponsor now.
The crowd disperses, mumbling.
A tear forms in my left eye
and rolls down my cheek.
It is so delicious
to have a feeling
that needs no explanation…