To a Friend Whose Operation Has Been Postponed

Open the rusty screen door
Follow my voice through the center
of the forest with no trees

Float atop the escaping river
like a weekday problem on a Saturday afternoon
Watch the cardinals glide above

this mess of a city, careless, self-absorbed,
The drivers in their compact cars, too,
accelerating behind you to dates and games

the scattered possibilities of something better
Take solace in the abandoned
take-out bags and six-pack rings

like embedded buttons to press
along the speckled shore of Lake Michigan
Lives are being lived here—mine, yours too—

Fill your lungs with ivy
Feel each of your toes slicken with grease
and pulverized stone, the natural aftermath

of ten million people using up this world
a paragraph at a time, a paragraph
at a time when each of us yearns to write

A burnished tome


4 Replies to “To a Friend Whose Operation Has Been Postponed”

  1. Very vivid imagery, though not always pleasing. But it does depict city life and the contrasts within it.

  2. The final stanza and that closing line work beautifully – it tells us a lot about who this poem is addressed to. I didn’t find the imagery necessarily appealing – “grease,” “pulverized,” the litter, the rushing cars – but the appeal to see and treasure the life in all that still came through for me.

  3. So, I read this and then I read “Coping,” and now I feel that they are companions, in a way. You’ve offered another gift-of-life. The tone is beautiful. I especially love “Float atop the escaping river/like a weekday problem on a Saturday afternoon” and the repetition in the last full stanza, which invites me to pause and consider. The beauty and the mess that is living.

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