You tell me to live each day
as if it were my last. This is in the kitchen
where before coffee I complain
of the day ahead—that obstacle race
of minutes and hours,
grocery stores and doctors.
But why the last? I ask. Why not
live each day as if it were the first—
all raw astonishment, Eve rubbing
her eyes awake that first morning,
the sun coming up
like an ingénue in the east?
You grind the coffee
with the small roar of a mind
trying to clear itself. I set
the table, glance out the window
where dew has baptized every
I was tired, half sleeping in the sun. A single bee delved the lavender nearby, and beyond the fence, a trowel’s shoulder knocked a white stone. Soon, the ringing stopped. And from somewhere, a quiet voice said the one word. Surely a command, though it seemed more a question, a wondering perhaps—”What about joy?” So long it had been forgotten, even the thought raised surprise. But however briefly, there, in the untuned devotions of bee and the lavender fragrance, the murmur of better and worse was unimportant. From next door, the sound of raking, and neither courage nor cowardice mattered. Soon enough that gate swung closed, the world turned back to heart-salt of wanting, heart-salts of will and grief. My friend would continue dying, at last only exhausted, even his wrists thinned with pain. The river Suffering would take what it wished of him, then go. And I would stay and drink on, as the living do, until the rest would enter into that water—the lavender swept in, the bee, the swallowed labors of my neighbor. The ordinary moment swept in, whatever it drowsily holds. I begin to believe the only sin is distance, refusal. All others stemming from this. Then, come. Rivers, come. Irrevocable futures, come. Come even joy. Even now, even here, and though it vanish like him.