Saturday, August 6, 2011

DA 1060

I'm sharing a Dallas-bound
Delta flight with a pastor
and a salesman.

If this were the beginning of a
joke, I am sure that I
would be a rabbi.

The pastor is kind and
engaged and speaks of himself
in muted arrogance. it is
not a fault as much as it is
a hazard of his occupation.
Sheep seldom follow shepherds
that are sheepish.

The salesman is in a unique
balancing act between boasting
and confession. He tempers every
story with a plea for acceptance.
Every jewel he holds up to
the light, he carefully lays at
the feet of the pastor.

I am far from their
conversation, the beard
offering a certain purchased distance
from middle-age, conservative America.

I wonder, if in the same conversation,
I would quickly show my better side.
"I'm returning form a mission trip."
"I've been to your church of 635"
"I also know Jesus"

Or would I tell him that me
Bible is in my checked luggage,
and I carry it around like a weight?

Would I tell him that I don't
trust him or his designer shoes?

Confessions of a Scaredy-Cat

I killed a grasshopper.
It was slender and green
and landed next to me.

I was scared of what
it would fel like, its
little legs clawing at
my cupped hands.

So, I killed it
with a shoe.
I collected its remains
with tissue paper and
trashed it next to an
empty box of cookies.

I hope this poem
serves as a proper burial.

On Seeing a Young Ballet Dancer on a Transatlantic Flight

Long, lithe arms that
hang like windless flags,

shoulders rolled back, set
like teacups on a high shelf,

feet, in first position,
in basketball shoes,

in a body, that for
the first time, makes

me think I'm dieing.