On Smelling My Sour Dish Towels
I hate my life.
I have also flashed on such nonsense
when I break a glass
or the car before me stops at a yellow light
when I am sure we could have
both squeaked through,
my flight or fight cells pique as though I am a lioness
on the savannah chasing down dinner.
So little to derail me sometimes,
a sideways glance from a teenager,
a text unanswered from a lover,
a negative balance on my bank statement.
I crave the steadiness the sequoia knows,
the depth of bodies of deep green water.
I do not know why I assume ease
with human consciousness,
given we employ the array of all creatures’ reactions
and judgements about reactions riding shotgun to boot.
The lucky deer does not look at her neighbor
and bemoan her longer legs,
the exposed mushroom does not envy the
shaded estate of its neighbor.
We are unrooted but without wing,
given to basest desires, as well as burden-
the constant clamor
of past, present and future preference.
My sister tells me of a conversation she had
with a sex worker.
The white woman excelled in impersonating
a black man talking like a woman,
a persona requested on 900 calls.
She had so perfected this niche,
when a real black man with a falsetto was employed
he was the least desired of the two.
I think how far our frontal cortex has taken us,
my own self-imposed weaning off fantasy to get off.
I want the simple triumph of the salmon squirting
gametes in a hollow of river rock.
It has been my fledgling practice this summer,
to climb back down the ladder of DNA,
to try for a moment to merely feel sensation-
heat on my left forearm at a stop light,
to flash on desert beasts before quenching my thirst,
to feel the rough hand of hunger
before opening the refrigerator.
I soak my sour dish towels in a bath of vinegar and lavender
and hang them on a clothesline,
remembering the journey we have taken through flora and fauna.
If it is true we share atoms with bananas and moonbeams,
I ask nature for a tug-
take me back to reclaim our simple inheritance,
so that my faculties may not lead me
down some twisted path,
so that my legacy is not some crooked craft.
A human life is a glass elevator ride
to the penthouse suite, may I at least enjoy the view.
Better, may I have the courage
to use such elegance,
this endowment well.