The Stranger, the Sojourner Passes By

My mind weaves a coherent experience
as not to overwhelm me, selects the gold mug

and cream to drink in, ignores a ring of milk
and spider webs, coconut pies quartered

on the diner counter. Tomorrow, you won’t remember
any of this, and neuroscience says it’s better not to try.

Loops of worry are spun with the colors of stars we dismiss
with our eyes, the ones we can only sometimes hold close

if we find ourselves with a mighty telescope and a need
to uncover the blues, the oranges hatching

in space. In Bryce Canyon, an astronomer promises me
a glimpse of Saturn. It burns

like a blot of dust in my eye, nothing more,
the rings of light too far out. Tonight, you couldn’t see

the fat planet churning in all its brilliance,
in all its loneliness

of moon junk spin and dusky glow
even if you wanted to, and so that white pebble

barely pulsing in the grease
of a hundred other eyelashes will have to do.

For his good will, I tip the earnest scientist, wander
past lines of strangers whose eyes never meet

my own and find myself in the dark, the dry
and fractured fields of Utah, think of Christ spitting

in the mud, making paste to cure the blind.



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