I read an article the other day
about some people
who did what all the books
said to do
and they were explaining
in very simple terms
how now their every movement
opens up before them
like a strawberry shortcake snack
at the Center for Incredibleness
and their every breath
brings with it some beneficent manifestation
like a phone call from some Swiss lawyer
representing a great uncle
they never knew they had
who made some fine investments in railroad steel
a century or two ago, then was lost tragically
in a hot air balloon disaster along with
most of his immediate relatives,
which meant it fell upon the
shiny happy ones from the article
a hefty assortment of waiting monies.
Hafiz was staring with equanimity
at my wilting peperomia plant,
which I leveraged as an opportunity
to add neglectful to the growing list
of obvious flaws I would
one day need to surmount
in order to manifest
unsolicited telephone calls
from foreign barristers.
“Your great uncle died, too, you know.”
Yes, I know that.
Did he not think I knew that?
Then, while Hafiz watered my peperomia plant
in a very beautiful way,
a way I could probably never manage
in this lifetime,
a way that made my eyes water
and my chest swell up
with all the grieving I had never completed
for that great uncle I never met,
I looked at my own list of life circumstances.
I could see no strawberry shortcake snacks
laid out in a buffet line before me.
I could see, instead,
a phone call that needed to be made
to a disappointed client,
a sketch of an apple I had tried to make
that looked instead like a crepe
left out in the sun too long,
and a fresh sriracha stain on my favorite shirt.
I felt as if the past several decades
of sitting quietly beside lit candles
early in the morning or late at night
and listening to the hidden meanings
of my own breath had been a futile postponement
of the obvious conclusion: I was broken.
Hafiz came over and sat beside me.
He lit a candle and together we breathed
some air in and out for a little while,
resting in one another
back and forth
like ancient waves finally finding their shore
until there was only the sensation
of spaciousness and the sound of
two bodies breathing.
Then I retired for the evening.
I dreamed about a sea of faces
stretching in all directions
like pebbles strewn across the beach of history,
and of all of the countless teeth they had grown–
a ga-jillion perfect bones–!
every one of them incomprehensibly
arising in its rightful place.
The next morning my peperomia
was spread full and alert,
and I realized I was a holy tooth
in the song-filled mouth
We were all in there together,
lined up and gleaming,
and the whole world
around us was busily