Just Let It

Let go and just let it happen…
at first I think about riding a bike
or falling in love—but—
it’s something more, something delicate
like when you touch your tongue to
the top of your mouth after drinking
something scalding: you feel it, roll it around,
and just let the pain happen…

Or maybe it’s like when a toddler falls and no one is watching;
not even a cry, just a look of surprise blooms across the face,
across the soul… All that careful attention, dashed against
hard ground and—and—it’s okay, though.

Eisenhower said something to the effect that war is impossible
to plan for, and also you must absolutely plan for it;
and while war is a close cousin—
one who visits on vacation, plays with all your toys at grandma’s house—
this is more tender and more precious,
like the memory that clings to those toys
at grandma’s, that memory that soaks into
them and into the mints in her purse, into
the cologne in grandpa’s drawer.

It’s like when you catch a sunrise in the corner of your eye
just before you look at it…
or when you’re walking back from the mall
restroom and you see him and before you
—almost instantly—recognize him, he is
so handsome, leaning against the rail in jeans and a hoodie…

It’s like those thoughts that wander in when
you want to lie down but don’t much feel like sleep,
the thoughts that spin and dance on your
dashboard when you’re driving alone, in silence.

Or maybe, finally, it’s like when you finally
decide to plunge down the playground slide
for the first time…
…and air rushes and you smell the metal and plastic
of the slide, it vibrates, creaks, and then—
dirt.

It’s just like that: finishing a poem; watching yourself dying…


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