There's poetry, there's Presbyterians, and look, there's a piano soaring overhead in the vastness of sky. It floats like a baseball swatted by a cleanup hitter, yet this object isn't made of cowhide but of mahogany and the relic of a grandmother's den. One minute you're looking up as if examining clues leading to religion or rain, the next minute you see a baby grand silhouetted amidst the horizon. Sometimes it's not important to ascertain the hows or whys, but to enjoy the elevation of what ifs. Unlike a plane getting lost in the clouds, the instrument's path is clearly visible as if skywriting a song with a chorus that goes something like, Hear me when I say, you can believe in what seems too lovely, to be truuuuue, before crashing to the earth to the tune of wood and keys colliding in perfect harmony for the occasion, a celebration denoting loss and being found. It's appropriate to say a prayer equal to the weight of the situation. Now bow your heads. The bigger they are, the harder they follow the laws of gravity and God.
Whether you pronounce it vase or vahz, the anniversary was forgotten. The flowers still sit in the supermarket waiting to be placed in the cart next to the eggs and loaf of sourdough. Though I'm not one to judge. I know we learn from experiences in which the purchased bread has already expired and when we neglect to inspect the carton for the cracked. It's part of the symbiotic pact between living and loving. For bitter or worse. A man can't always recall a lifetime of firsts, but it's the lasts that are often foremost in his calendar. His last haircut. His last bagel. The last time he wore a turtleneck. Look, I'm no authority on the fickle nature of memory. I, too, have neglected to remember dates that call for balloons and bouquets. But I prefer to see the glass as half fulfilled. Like an empty vase. An awaiting vahz. An apology coming in the near future.
There is no negotiation between the calm and the storm. No handshake is consummated before the two fuse together, digress, and diverge from tranquility to tempest. I've seen many a man go his separate way, but his measure is determined by the realization that he finally needs to stop and ask for directions. Excuse me, where can I wobble though the straight and wedge amongst the narrow? The forecast can call for rain, but what matters most is if the puddle is seen as a means of diversion or drowning. Splish-splash I was taking a bath, or whiplash—I can't help but continue to look back. In those instances, the trick is to make friends with your ghosts. Invite them over for a round of cornhole and some zesty guac. Play air guitar during their attempts at karaoke. Be the host other hauntings talk about. Unfortunately, even the most water repellant umbrella can't keep you totally dry from the sudden downpour of a pity party. In those instances, ration your hope and get to higher ground. There is no bargaining between an act and God.
is the author of "Moonlighting as an Avalanche" (Tebot Bach 2021), "Apologies in Reverse" (FutureCycle Press 2019), "When Kerosene's Involved" (Mojave River Press 2014), and "Romancing Gravity" (Silver Birch Press 2013). He received an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte, and he lives, teaches, and bench presses in Long Beach, CA.