from One Big Self

My Dear Conflicted Reader,

If you will grant me that most of us have an equivocal nature,

and that when we waken we have not made up our minds which direc-

tion we're headed; so that—you might see a man driving to work in a

perfume- and dye-free shirt, and a woman with an overdone tan hold up

an orange flag in one hand, a Virginia Slim in the other—as if this were

their predestination. Grant me that both of them were likely contemplat-

ing a different scheme of things. WHERE DO YOU WANT TO SPEND

ETERNITY the church marquee demands on the way to my boy's school,

SMOKING OR NON-SMOKING. I admit I had not thought of where or

which direction in exactly those terms. The radio ministry says g-o-d has

a wrong-answer button and we are all waiting for it to go off...

Count your grey hairs

Count your chigger bites

Count your pills

Count the times the phone rings

Count your T cells

Count your mosquito bites

Count the days since your last menses

Count the chickens you've eaten

Count your cankers

Count the storm candles

Count your stitches

Count your broken bones

Count the flies you killed before noon


This poem also appears at The Poetry Foundation.

Darren Angle