My oars at rest,
the boat is bobbing.
My mind at rest,
I bob likewise.
No fishing pole,
no reason to be here
other than to
ride the ripples in one place,
equidistant from the heavily forested shore
and the one where cars
peep through the pines.
I sit back, stretch my body
long and sun-wise,
slide my eyes under their lids.
Without doing a thing,
gives the orders
PLEASANT DREAMS, UNPLEASANT WAKING
No warmth. Not tonight.
No tenderness. Turn the
other cheek if you will,
the one farthest from her lips.
Read your book
until your eyes close.
Then fall asleep and dream.
Dream the perfect curve
of her face-lines,
the aromatic silk of her flesh.
Dream the time
you walked with her
across the field
and your rough hand found
the gentle small of her back.
Dream the trees shaking
and the daffodils blazing
and the warblers singing in the clouds.
No waking. Not tonight.
THE FAT BOY
It is an obese, flabby body that I must steer
along the sidewalk, leaning forward,
trusting gravity, hoping the rest of my body follows.
Some people stay well clear. Others squeeze between
me and the picket fences, praying I don't suddenly alter course
and squash them like gnats.
I hear the snickering, I've seen the mothers, in strict lecturing mode,
hold me up as an example of too much candy, too many soda bottles.
But have I really eaten and drunk too much?
My doctor says I have growth hormone issues.
So I'm not who I am.
I'm what I’ve got.
I watch the birds from my heavy bedroom chair.
They eat and eat and eat but they're never other than bird si/e.
They need all that energy to fly, my teacher explains.
My body can't conceive of flying.
I've read where beached whales die of the weight on their heart.
But what if their heart were part of that weight?
She collapsed on a busy street.
A couple held back,
in awe of the sudden disruption.
Some moved swiftly on,
not wanting to get involved.
One man bent over her,
felt for a pulse.
A woman knelt beside him,
shouted “Let her breathe!"
Some kids laughed.
An ambulance was called.
Two heavy set guys in white
lifted her onto a litter
and into the back of their van.
It sped away, sirens whirring.
The couple convinced themselves
they would have acted
but that man and woman
were just quicker off the mark.
The swift movers on figured
nothing they could have done anyhow.
The bending man, the kneeling woman,
sighed, "God, if only there was something
we could have done."
When last observed,
humanity was a sidewalk,
with just these people
doing just these things.
Some kids laughed at that.