Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Julie Came Around

Stoic endurance is for Julie
not a sign of strength
or weakness
but of missed chances.

In weather Julie senses quakerly
opportunity to see that of god
in every thunderstorm, every
dry spell. Even the lowliest,

fleeting squall reveals
god. Maybe, I
taught her that. Maybe,
it was in me once.

But today in DC, in sunny,
blustery cold, I am undone,
hardly reaching even no account,
unsatisfactory, stoic endurance.

I do not suffer unfairly,
only there does not seem to be
a piece of god in this cold.
It is said that as one

freezes to death,
numb indifference
is the blissful stage
before unconsciousness.

I wouldn’t know.
When Julie at four said,
my toes are frozen, she spoke
as we struggled with slushy sidewalks,

maneuvered between glacial piles
of snow, caught in a condensed,
relentless freeze-thaw-freeze,
I said, eyes to the sun, face to the sun,

body to the sun, do you trust me?
Yes, Julie said, with the fervor
of conversion and a prayer for warm toes.
OK. Good, then. Close your eyes,

feel the heat pulsing gently
Feel through cheeks.
See through eyelids.
Test the air, your nose

knows the way to the beach.
Note the orange glow of the midday sun.
Seen best with closed eyes. Heat
beating warmly. Walk the

beach with me? Savor the sun.
If we were in Ann Arbor now,
we’d be slogging through the snow.
But we’re barefoot on warm sand.

Sand actually hot on our toes.
Exotic, our naked, satisfied feet.
Are we warm yet?
And Julie said, yes, we are warm.

Our toes are so warm.
Our visit rich with our wonder.
Our lives focused this moment.
That message to Julie, coax a little warmth

from always available stock,
came around yesterday.
On the Metro platform, I turned to face the sun.
More brightness than heat, I could still feel it.

I could feel my satisfied feet grabbing sand.
And the cold and bluster drifted off,
leaving Julie and me at the beach,
so long ago, so fresh today, so warm.

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