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~~a glosa~~

But then it does not matter. Strange how few,
after all’s said and done, the things that are
of moment. Few indeed! When I can make
of ten small words a rope to hang the world!

—from “Interim”, Edna St. Vincent Millay

The year is new. I have not found
a meme or dubious quotation yet to press
upon the friends I mostly haven’t met.
There’s been no sunset at this longitude,
only rise through which I slept and dreamed
of small regrets. I should get out and do,
but what? One friend is on a plane,
another has six horses to attend. The one
who’s dieting thinks she must lose a size or two,
but then it does not matter. Strange how few

the options seem when the calendar
is fresh, and life and death do not hang
in the balance. I could be content,
pursue new lines of thought, imagine
worlds that might have been, and could be still.
If I’m unfed, one day, by images of war,
infernos, floods, and raging politics,
would I be less a worthy citizen? Would my
withdrawal wound the Senate, leave a scar?
After all’s said and done, the things that are

would be such anyway, or could it be—
strange brew—that my continued
observation seeps like mustard gas
into habitual, low-lying banks of thought
where greenery and possibility once
flourished? Oh, give my head a shake!
Go play outside. Fresh air will do you good.
Inspiration didn’t come back then—I swam
in it, a dolphin, flippered, finned, with no mistake
of moment. Few indeed! When I can make

of this day a borderless idea that the planet
will outlive my worry, longevity’s irrelevant,
that those in little boots with flashing lights,
absorbed in making snowmen, are more
worthy of my admiration than the crumbling
antiquated systems that confused and whirled
me from frivolity to lockstep, then perhaps
I will have made some worthy contribution,
after all, an original pattern knit and purled
of ten small words, a rope to hang the world—

a bright infinity scarf to warm this good New Year!

Happy 2016!


© Elaine Stirling, 2016