Sleepless again, at my father’s office. Helping out because it’s tax season. Putting aside my personal life for awhile.

Happiness Writes White
Edward Hirsch

I am a piece of chalk
scrawling words on an empty blackboard.
I am a banner of smoke
that crosses the blue air and doesn’t dissolve.
I don’t believe that only sorrow
and misery can be written.
Happiness, too, can be precise:
Doctor, there’s a keen throbbing
on the left side of my chest
where my ribs are wrenched by joy.
Wings flutter in my shoulders
and blood courses through my body
like waves cresting on a choppy sea.
Look: the eyes blur with tears
and the tears clear.
My head is like skylight.
My heart is like dawn.

It’s always a debate inside my head. What to do. What not to do. I think I live too much inside this dome. Lord knows it’s frightening and chaotic enough. Why should I bother with the real world. But I hear you, I hear you, tiny voice scurrying about in my mind: that’s not the way to live, T., really, that’s not the way to live. I hear you:

Self-portrait
Edward Hirsch

I lived between my heart and my head,
like a married couple who can’t get along.
I lived between my left arm, which is swift
and sinister, and my right, which is righteous.
I lived between a laugh and a scowl,
and voted against myself, a two-party system.
My left leg dawdled or danced along,
my right cleaved to the straight and narrow.
My left shoulder was like a stripper on vacation,
my right stood upright as a Roman soldier.
Let’s just say that my left side was the organ
donor and leave my private parts alone,
but as for my eyes, which are two shades
of brown, well, Dionysus, meet Apollo.
Look at Eve raising her left eyebrow
while Adam puts his right foot down.
No one expected it to survive,
but divorce seemed out of the question.
I suppose my left hand and my right hand
will be clasped over my chest in the coffin
and I’ll be reconciled at last,
I’ll be whole again.