The same snowflake
Kept falling out of the gray sky
Falling and falling
And picking itself up
Off the ground,
To fall again,
But now more surreptitiously,
As night strolled over
To see what’s up
It pains me to see an old woman fret over
A few small coins outside a grocery store —
How swiftly I forget her as my own grief
Finds me again — a friend at death’s door
And the memory of the night we spent together.
I had so much love in my heart afterward,
I could have run into the street naked
Confident anyone I met would understand
My madness and my need to tell them
About life being both cruel and beautiful,
But I did not — despite the overwhelming evidence:
A crow bent over a dead squirrel in the road,
The lilac bushes flowering in some yard,
And the sight of a dog free from his chain
Searching through a neighbor’s trash can.
Was it in the smell of freshly baked bread
That came out to meet me in the street?
The face of a girl carrying a white dress
From the cleaners with her eyes half closed?
The sight of a building blackened by fire
Where once I went to look for work?
The toothless old man passing out leaflets
For a clothing store going out of business?
Or was it the woman pushing a baby carriage
About to turn the corner? I ran after,
As if the little one lying in it was known to me,
And found myself alone on a busy street
I didn’t recognize, feeling like someone
Out for the first time after a long illness,
Who sees the world with his heart,
Then hurries home to forget how it felt.