Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Important and the Really, Really Important

Today I will sign a new retainer agreement with my divorce lawyer and send off a check for an as yet undetermined amount.

I sit here at my desk exchanging emails with her, but sea lions are playing in the marina. My son and his family will be getting into their mini-van any minute now. They will drive for hours, and some time this evening, I will hear children's voices even before the doorbell rings.

The mortgage banker will send emails asking again for things that I may not be able to deliver, but the fog rolls in and out here in Margaritaville revealing a golden light for a few moments between the gray curtains. I imagine my daughter M on a college campus a couple of hours away in her self-generated micro-climate of sunshine, though it may actually be pouring rain.

I will expect nothing in my in-box from the Someone because expecting nothing is far less tiring. Expecting is like walking on ice. You may slip and fall down when what you thought you were doing was going forward. And this makes me think of daughter C who must return to regular life in her cold and icy place, her husband's mother's ashes now sinking back into the earth hundreds of miles away.

The phone on my desk lies on its back looking uncomfortable (yes, I know I'm projecting my feelings onto an inanimate object) as it waits for a conference call, but I hear the microwave beep in the kitchen as my mother reheats her coffee, and the man who loves me and I are exchanging emails, and there is so much comfort in those two things that I can barely endure the beauty of it.

And now....a poem by Ellen Bass

If You Knew 
What if you knew you'd be the last
to touch someone?
If you were taking tickets, for example,
at the theater, tearing them,
giving back the ragged stubs,
you might take care to touch that palm,
brush your fingertips
along the life line's crease.

When a man pulls his wheeled suitcase
too slowly through the airport, when
the car in front of me doesn't signal,
when the clerk at the pharmacy
won't say Thank you, I don't remember
they're going to die.

A friend told me she'd been with her aunt.
They'd just had lunch and the waiter,
a young gay man with plum black eyes,
joked as he served the coffee, kissed
her aunt's powdered cheek when they left.
Then they walked half a block and her aunt
dropped dead on the sidewalk.

How close does the dragon's spume
have to come? How wide does the crack
in heaven have to split?
What would people look like
if we could see them as they are,
soaked in honey, stung and swollen,
reckless, pinned against time?

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

A beautiful post and beautiful poem. I had never read Ellen Bass before I posted a poem of hers yesterday (and it was on my poetry calendar), so after you've done so, I think I'm going to see if she has a book and purchase it. Right now.