As We Are

Next time you’re at
a toddler’s birthday party
making tiny talk between
bites of bland pizza
or too-sticky cake,
take a closer look at the
parents
with their hollowed eyes,
the way they drag their bones
forward
into these bright ballooned rooms.
Look again and
you’ll notice
just underneath all these smiles
runs a clear river of
not joy, or pride but
relief –
shear exalted relief
for we made it this far
we didn’t screw it up
this is our party damnit
for keeping little Hugo
alive.

Or, next time you’re at
a funeral
you might steal a sneaky peak
toward those mourning
and notice
underneath the grief
or show-of-grief
there is another, quieter cry
a lonely call to the sky
a plea that says
I’m doing this for them
but in the end
who will show up
for me?

How close does the
rattlesnake’s forked tongue
have to come? How loud does
the thunder need to clap?
This is what it looks like
when we see people
as they are
as we are –
bathed in light
soaked in caffeine
tumbling through time
doing whatever we can
where we are
with what we’ve
got.