The question you will be called upon
to answer requires careful thought,
but you will be forced to respond.
Would you rather live the rest
of your life in Lilliput or Brobdingnab?
It may seem rather silly, for neither
is likely to occur, but that is not the point
and you cannot avoid responding.
Of course you will have to read
Swift, but you ought to do that anyway
and there, if you pay attention, you
see your own world and your
relationship with it, and you will see
others who look vaguely familiar.
So there you have your midterm exam
denizen of Lilliput or Brobdingnab,
and no, you cannot answer with
“because I’d be a giant among midgets,”
or “because I’d stand out as a midget
in a world where all around me are giants”
because no matter how you choose
you’ll be black in a white world, gay
in a straight one, or a woman in our world.
The Good news about rom-coms
is that Hollywood (and occasionally
Paris, Lisbon and Madrid, but never Berlin)
crank them out endlessly, and each
contains that grain or two of truth,
like salt rubbed in the wound
of a failed first marriage, and the balm
of the discovery of true and abiding love.
The small pail of rom-com truths
is easily carried, sometimes off
a too strong wind, but it is never enough
to build a dune to hold back
the waves of emotion that attend
the most fragile and passionate
of all human relationships.
Yet we sit, smile, and watch hoping
that this one’s grain is the one that tips
the scale ever so slowly in our favor.
The last time we spoke
you asked me when the end was coming.
I didn’t have a good answer for you,
wasn’t even quite sure what you meant
by the question, the end of what? Of time,
of your life or mine, or merely the end
of a conversation we had been
carrying on for as long
as either of us could remember.
That was some time ago
and I have thought about
your question quite frequently
and seeing you today,
you walking by me
without acknowledging me,
I realize the answer
should have been
and most certainly now is
that the end came
the moment you
started your question.