The first Saturday after opening day

There must’ve been nine cars parked at the Iroquois swamp.
The men hold my eyes,
I glide in the car gone by.  I get so far away in my car.
Far from how fragile I am, as they are, surrounded
by a metal diversion from this soft, warm, breakable skin.
Brandon used to say: People are breakable toys!
I guess even at fourteen he knew we do die.  I try to live
As though I understood. I understand you doubt my veracity
because I get along with too many types of people.
I understand that to laugh on a really terrible day
is like an Irish cable knit by a fire
After it’s already cold on the outskirts of the circle of chairs there.
I know I repeat myself, my trees, my fire circles, my people.
I understand peace is at two a.m.
when you don’t want to click the lights off
lock the door and go on to bed.  You want to not miss anything.
I understand that God is power, mystifying that he doesn’t
Do powerfully what I want sometimes,
when I want perfectly acceptable things. 
Here’s what I ask: no one gets out dead. 
I think it is because I remember a world where death isn’t,
unless someone wants to.  Even then,
there is changing your mind.  Death the fermata, God the conductor
with the petite circular motion of his baton.
I understand everyone is very different from anyone else I’ve met,
but I will go on and group you—by face,
by voice, by habit, by color, by clothes, by your language,
by your mannerisms and your accent
where you’re from and your gender, or lack of gender,
or changed gender, your pheromones and the motions of your arms
your back and whether you smoke or drink
or do drugs and maybe first and maybe last your words
how you walk or if you don’t or if you are so quiet
you are  whoever I want you to be for now, and I will lump
you with those who share these characteristics
swoop towards my conclusions
faster than you tell me your last name,
you a precious snowflake, me a snow scraper.
I understand you want to fill the time, too,
you can’t be bothered to read a poem too long to get to a
point about understanding or feeling tender
a tenderness that’s demanding once I’ve been moved
by another, and another, weeping reaction to goodness in the world.
I understand how the boys have become men
with their strong eyes and guns in their hands
is not actually laughing at them, is not actually sentimental,
is not actually an oversimplification at all.


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