Runcible Spoon

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Beside Myself


I am standing on a bridge over a river I’ve known well.

I’ve stood here watching as fireworks lit up the sky.

I’ve watched the river flow swiftly toward the sea.

I’ve stood here in winter, when the river froze

and snow piled in uneven drifts.

I’m standing now in spring, as the last ice

breaks up and the river foams past floating chunks.

My face and hands are cold.

My ears are uncovered, and my eyes run with tears.

I’m standing here indifferent to my comfort,

caring little about my own good. I am offering

my eyes to the wind, which needs a million eyes to see.

I am offering my hands to the river.

Let it sweep them down toward the cities of the plain.

Let my hands paddle and wave.

Maybe they will build something downstream,

maybe they will learn to pray to other gods.

I am standing beside myself, holding steady as the wind blows.

Clouds scurry across the sky.

On the riverbanks, robins have returned, and daffodils push through thawing earth.