two statues of humans having a staring contest

Good enough, Day 5: A poem

You know that thing where, completely by accident,
you run into an old friend you haven’t seen for seven years
at a place neither of you would expect
because how the hell would they know Terry and Rich?, 
they moved away SEVEN years ago—
at least two before Terry and Rich even got to L.A.,
much less met each other
,
and you’re both so excited
you shriek and hug each other
and maybe even cry a little
and then, embarrassed,
motion to your respective, politely bored companions
that you haven’t seen this person for SEVEN YEARS
and exclaim over how great it is to see them
(because really, it is)
and how each of you looks exactly like you did fifteen years ago
(because, well—ballpark)
and then, before you realize what you have unleashed,
you ask them what they’ve been up to
and they catch their breath and say, “Omigod…!”
because of the enormity of it,
but then, in a steady stream,
release things like “MFA” and “…Seattle, for Greg’s residency”
and the names of two things you’re pretty sure are children
and one you really hope is an animal
but honestly,
you’re having trouble concentrating
because you already know
what
comes
next.

And when it does, as it always does,
you think about
the various men who have come and gone
and the one husband who was gone
but came back as a friend
and the several careers you’ve tried on
like costumes sewn for someone else—
beautiful, but tight around the shoulders—
and even the one time you wound up in the emergency room
and thought you saw Jesus
but it was only dehydration
and a trick of the light

And you consider telling them all of this
but you are bored of it already
and why get into
what’s really going on,
or even the simple, crazy story
of how it was all set in motion
on that early Thursday evening
when you walked out of a Ross Dress for Less
and the sun hit the palm trees in a particular way
and how, for one nanosecond, maybe two,
you finally knew that someday,
you could feel all right
even if you didn’t know how
just yet.

No one talks about
the long climb back to okay
at a cocktail party,
even one with dear, old friends.

So instead, you say,
nothing! nothing at all!
and you both laugh
and ask how the other
knows Terry and Rich
and you all friend each other on Facebook—
right there, on your phones,
like the Jetsons!—
and promise to meet for coffee
which you just might do
in another 40 years
when the witnesses
are gone.

The skinny on, plus all previous 21-Day Salutes™.

20 comments

  1. Ahhhh ~ Yes.

    I’m the one who’s just as likely to spill the whole “long climb back to okay” ~ and the coffee in 40 years happens just the same, anyway…

    thank you… so real

  2. And if you did tell her what’s been going on with you, how do you think she’d react? We must only talk of the positives, right? I hear you, Colleen. Your poem swept me up. I feel better because I’m not the only one who thinks this way. And the photo was perrrrrfect!

  3. I love your poem, and I’m really enjoying the “Good Enough” series. The best fortune I’ve ever gotten from a cookie is taped to the top of my computer monitor:
    “It could be better, but it’s good enough.”
    I bequeath it to you. :-)

  4. Thank you C-this is exactly what I needed to read at exactly the right time. It changed my outlook today. Made me think. Made me laugh. It moved me. That’s what great writing does. You are one great writer.

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