Today's poem is by John Gallaher

In a Landscape: XIII

How many people haven't you married, that you thought
for a moment—who knows—maybe you would? It seems to me
right now that one should take such things
as warnings, but of exactly what, I'm not sure. We should all
be allowed to feel this near miss, how many things happen
at the same time, and how people have varying degrees
of perceiving that. That could be the warning. Or just
that "you never know." Or better, that line by Chuck Berry:
"It goes to show you never can tell." And so and so,
and so and so. But even with all the parsing, at some point
there will only be one person left. When my uncle died, for instance,
he was playing cards with my aunt. It was his move
and she just thought he was thinking. If so,
he's been thinking a long time. When she died a few years later,
I don't know who was there. Someone she loved,
I hope. And if not that, at least someone.

I hit a possum once, late at night on my paper route,
1990. I stopped and looked back at it lying there
in the road—a patch of blood on its head. Then slowly
from the bushes past the curb, several more
possums appeared. They went to the one I hit. It
almost looked like a ceremony, light as a feather,
stiff as a board, or something. And the possum rose to its feet,
wobbling a bit, and followed them back into the bushes.

At some point that one thing will be for certain:
we're standing in line. I picture us there
as if at an airport waiting for our various flights
to be called. And from my spot in line, I worry
about the people around me, like when Natalie
was at her first sleep-over. Mostly I worry
that she'll be comfortable, and that she won't
feel lost. Eliot, who's three, was lost for a while
the other night. I was in the kitchen
reading John Cage's SILENCE, and he
was playing in the living room as the house
grew a little dark, and then I heard him call out,
"Hey guys. Hey, where did everybody go?"

Copyright © 2014 John Gallaher All rights reserved
from In a Landscape
BOA Editions
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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