Take That Chance You've Been
from the Fortune Cookie Series
I'm over the railing now. Down below
the gray-blue winks in the light
and wrinkles up. To me it looks
like the meeting ground between lies
and the elusive truth, but don't trust
my take on it; I'm in a state. Trust Me,
says the official in so many words, after
he's inched as close as he dares without
pushing me, you know, over the edge:
Hey what seems to be wrong?
Wow, what a leading question,
but oh I do trust him, I do. Look,
I want to say, the sky is the exact
untroubled blue of the crayon I picked once,
years back, to make the sky blue.
And the broken parts of this world
are so far off that from here
they seem like cracks in a sidewalk. Deep down,
though, I'll bet the sea is fingering the bones
of jumpers, rolling them like old ideas
that never quite tookwhat do you think?
But I can't; he'd conclude I was mad. The police
have drawn a line the cars
can't pass while we work this through.
It's a nice day, he says, a good day
to talk. Want a hand?
I mustn't speak, just smile politely
as if to say 'thank you' or 'fine, you?'
From where I stand people look like ants,
that is, their hearts like the nipping
heads of red ants.
I can't explain this but suddenly
I want a bigness like the sea
or sky, a largess, an inheritance, the full
embrace. I want
to take that chance I've been considering.
Stranger, isn't it true, isn't it,
that out of every million,
nine hundred ninety-nine thousand
nine hundred ninety-nine drop
straight toward the obvious, but one