Daffodils came up
before this late blizzard —
while shoveling the front walk
last night I uncovered
the edge of the cluster.
There was a robin, fat with cold,
chowing down on the old biscuits
I’d crumbled onto the front yard
yesterday. Today, sparrows
crowd the top of a small bush there
with the snow concealing
whatever that robin might have left.
It’s hell out there this morning —
overnight everything went hard and icy
and there’s shoveling left
that I dread, but
robin and sparrows and
may not linger long.
He admits to himself
that there are fleeting times when
he still believes
that up in the sky
there’s a bearded solution
to all of this pain. He knows better,
of course, always has,
just like the cool kids do.
But knowing better
isn’t always enough to banish
certain things from his head
that took up residence long before
knowing meant more than believing.
What he thinks he knows
about such things now, he does not share.
All the cool kids would sneer.
All the cool kids know better than him —
by which he means they have a better process
for knowing. They’re better at knowing
than he is. When they know something,
they know it. He, on the other hand,
keep gnawing at the knowing all the time,
trying to know better, trying to know more
and more certainly, and it never comes to him.
All this is to say that tonight, right now,
he’s aware of how alone this makes him.
How nothing is reliable. How no one
is in the same boat, at least not anyone
he could call and ask for help. There’s this
one important question he needs an answer to
and if there’s nothing beyond himself to provide
a safe space to ask it, he dares not say it out loud.
All the cool kids would laugh at him for feeling that way.
All the cool kids would turn away if he asked them,
so he doesn’t ask, and slowly pulls away.