Carrying the week’s groceries
over the footbridge,
I imagine the wind’s whine
is the creak of bolts
coming loose. Up here
there are no city lights
to obscure the stars.
If I fall through the ice below,
at least it’ll be a pretty ride.
When I came here, twenty years gone
now, it was for moments like this
when all of life seems
one tight coil of trivia and import.
I could pass from this life
and become a local footnote with no regrets.
A starlet died over the weekend
and all I know of her death is allegations
and rumors. Such a lot of fuss
for a stark fact: someone dies
and we’re forever uninformed as to why
such things happen. If I fall through
to the ice below, no one will talk of me
that way, and I’m grateful for that.
There’s no answer to why, and no such thing as
“too soon” — not for the deceased. We go
when we go, at times we believe we choose
or at inconvenient times, and I suspect
that whatever happens to us afterward,
it’s not anything we conceived beforehand.
So why we seek to explain such things,
I do not know or seek to know. What I do know
is this: here in the cold north, on a narrow bridge
between the road’s end and my small home,
I walk under a stellar shield that protects me
from the awful truth that life will end for all of us,
and when we go we will be remarked on
and mourned even as we are beyond such things.
We will wonder at that because we have no choice
but to do so, but to wonder without noticing
the world we live in and our own impermanence
is to lose the thread of who we are now.
I will listen to that wind and trust my footing
against the possibility of it being my last walk
because the stars are perfect here, and I am here,
and that actress is somewhere else, and what will be is certain.