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wish life

I have a picture you drew
of a girl, her back to us,
hands fisted in pockets
She walks with Great Determination
into the forest. I can tell
she is thinking hard.

Me too. Thinking about
what we all
ask of the world.

An interview with the interim mayor
of a city plagued by ills—
violence and poverty,
pandemic and code violations.
What’s next for you, asks the reporter.
“I would like to buy a little beach bar
in the Virgin Islands—grill shrimp,
sell margaritas, rent our snorkel equipment.
that’s what I would really like to do….

If your grandmother on Argyle Street
calls and says the storm sewer is backing up
and there’s water in her basement?
We can get that handled in an hour…
It has an impact.
It’s very rewarding.”

So. What to do with this?
He wishes for a tan and endless
limes, but I’ll bet grandma would wish
him to stay on the job.
Even though grandma watches the
water rise in her cellar and dreams
of being someone else, somewhere else.

Why are we granted this life in the world
and this whole other life in our head
where we dream of a beach or a love
A foreign city, or making art?

While I try again—
to puzzle this out
the puppy who has Everything
can’t settle, obsessed
with dragging his bed onto my lap
And I run out of time to fiddle with words
because it’s time to get ready for
work in the world we share

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