BY D. R. JAMES
First published in Ruminate. Copyright is held by the author.
Look, I want to love this world
as though it’s the last chance I’m ever going to get
to be alive
and know it.
— Mary Oliver, “October”
Busy inhabiting my world —
blazing car, radio blather,
coffee buzz that wouldn’t last —
I somehow caught a left-hand glimpse
so quick I didn’t see you flinch,
yet so outstanding, you could’ve been
a plastic cousin to the prank flamingos
that another morning
enthralled my neighbour’s lawn.
Stark still, ankle-deep
in that transitory water,
only the one side, one-eyed,
wide as disbelief, you looked
just like you looked, posed
in the Natural History Museum,
1963: for again,
all those slender angles,
the spear of your bill,
that deathless intensity
marking your stick-form way, only
now in a mid-May puddle poised
between the intersecting rushes
eastbound, 196, southbound, 31.
And you, still doing
what you’ve never known
you do, still finding your life
wherever you find yourself —
while I, still fixated as always
on finding myself,
as if that were to find a life,
saw again how wildly
I am alive —
how I always want to know it.