If I Were Brave

I would write nothing but poetry such as this
Well, that and a lot of good essays.
And a short story or two every now and again.
Plus maybe a book.

If I were brave
I would write nothing but poetry such as this:

The First Rule
of Sinhalese

Never build three doors
in a straight line
A devil might rush
through them
deep into your house,
into your life

by Michael Ondaatje (1998)

Was Electricity Inevitable?

Was it inevitable that I would cook toast by electricity. Power the stereo. Read at night by electric light. I don't know anyone who could answer this. Don't have books in which to search the answer. Maybe no one has ever asked this. I'm on my own. So I assume that it was inevitable. That if we go back far enough. Before electricity. We could see everything leading to it. With all the benefits of hindsight we could see the indicators and know our future as a matter of course. Knowing this in our own time, we could see clues and understand where our lines will next intersect. Know the future. Not every single moment, but we would know how we might live. Mostly, I think we would know how we will die. Bummer. I turn out the light, power down the stereo, and let the red coils of the toaster fade to black. The night is come. I'm tired of day and these questions. Let's dream. I stumble upstairs to bed. The cat hisses at my toes under the covers not knowing what they are but furious for just a moment to have her peace disturbed. In the darkness I wait for her claws, wondering how things will ever work out. 

A Tree Behind Our Old House

My brother and I disagree. We drive past the house we left thirty eight years before. Out in the sunken backyard stands a tree. He says it’s the same one we knew as kids. I remember that one being taken down. He says, a new tree couldn't grow so tall so soon. But thirty eight years, I say. We drive past. Forgotten in the back seat, my mother doesn’t remember a tree, the house, the backyard, and barely recognizes her sons. She struggles to remember the man who knew these things. Tries to remember that life, the solid feeling that things don’t change. But death has always followed her. She looks through the windshield, past my brother’s angry silence, but can’t really see the intersection ahead. I hear a voice say that none of us can know how fast or slow a tree might grow up or why it ever falls.