I was most idle when I was at work. Didn’t I want
to make impact in the turbine of my community
or erupt in the boxy room where my wife slept, dreaming
the blond psychotropic static of nothingness? This
was getting by and somehow against our effortless
best, we did. Whole seasons moved through us
ringing their little bells, shedding their colors, every
weekend some drunken minor saint commanded us
practice for what our lives should be, but weren’t.
We’d hear mention of such peril, the Chechnyans
who detonated themselves in schoolyards,
their suits of nails raking through children.
The monks who lit themselves aflame.
Our neighbors who we never met, arranging
the emerging fantasies of the under-aged. Evangelicals
praying that science would end with choice. When
they banned smoking at bars is when I began
my only protest of that era. At the bottom
of the well of the self, such poverty. Sheaves
of poetry about dumb animals aware, blossoms
of memories like old factories in disrepair, or
the tractor my grandfather stole that night from the barn,
his brothers perched on the fenders with lanterns.
Even if it never happened, it made the only flare.
Thinking of them there, puttering into town, grateful
only one was missing. Searching for the dance
at the end of their terrible war. Finally ready to live.