He says “the shortest distance
between any two points is a straight line.”
She says, “you will miss seeing
of the amazing sights if you
follow that inane rule, and by the way
Einstein made it quite clear
space is curved, and the line
you think straight is not at all,
so why not follow a more varied curve
and see what there is to see
along the way. It might surprise you.”
He says, “I have to follow the road
and the interstates are the most direct routes.”
She says, “there are an infinite number
ways to get from point A to B.”
She wants to try several of them
and if he doesn’t like it, well
there is always the back seat.
She finds dysfunction
rather disconcerting and if I
don’t agree she will take it as a diss
though I would quickly dismiss
that idea as disingenuous.
But she is prone to discomfort
and displaces those around her
in moments of dissonance.
She does keep her distance,
and tries to be dispassionate
and so I can easily distract her
which is to my distinct advantage.
S: What are you doing, for heaven sake?
H: Isn’t it obvious, I’m searching
for Nirvana, for enlightenment.
S: You silly fool, it’s right behind you!
H: (turning suddenly) It is not,
I would certainly see it.
S: You might think so, but
it is still right behind you!
H: But why, tell me, can’t I see it?
S: Because you’re looking for it
always peering outward,
but if you look inward
behind your eyes, you
won’t be able to miss it.
He is fond of saying that it is
“water under the dam,” and she
constantly calls him on it, reminding him
that water goes over the dam.
He smiles when she does this
and reminds her that it isn’t a dam
if water is going over it, and it is mindless
to say its water under the bridge
for that is the essential nature of bridges,
and, he adds, when I say it, you know I’m flying
by the seat of my pants, so why don’t
you just give it a rest for now, okay?
She replies, if that is what you want,
I will gladly do so, just realize that this
is why almost all your verbal analogies
have a tendency to crash and burn.
We greet as long lost friends,
having never before met
save sharing a place
a decade apart.
I strive to cling
to what was there
in that place, she,
fueled by the frustration,
has turned away
just because of it.
I go home to my words,
she to her art,
and we know
our paths will cross again.
If you ask, she says,
you take away the chance
of ever getting a miracle.
If you ask and it happens
you reduce it to a simple
prayer answered, no matter
how surprising the outcome.
You don’t see, he said
it’s not the final act
that is the miracle,
it’s that it actually happens
to someone presumptuous enough
to believe themselves deserving.
He only wants to know , he says
what she fears most,what is her phobia,
everyone has at least one, he claims.
She thinks about this for a while
then smiles and says her one true fear
is called phobophobia, and that
she says positively terrorizes her.
He looks confused and she sees it.
I fear, she adds, people who are in fear
even though I know they aren’t contagious.
He smiled, took her hand, and said
You have nothing to fear from me
for I am generally known to be fearless.
At that she cringed, knowing that
Her second greatest fear was mythophobia
and he was a walking, talking example.
She said I should be thankful that I am not
a rice farmer. She said that I should be thankful
that I am not over seven feet tall, and not
less than four feet eight inches, although she
concedes that four feet nine would not be
cause for celebration. She says I should be thankful
I was not dropped on my head as a baby. I am thankful
for all of these things, and for her, for she
saves me countless hours remembering things for which
I probably should be thankful.
She said, “As we get older
we start to come from the place
we only wished we were from,
and the place from which we came,
becomes the place from which
we are now glad we never visited.”
He said, “As I age, my youth changes,
and the things I say I did are increasingly,
the things I wish I had done,
and what I did and wish I hadn’t
are things that now never happened.”
She smiled, “it’s hard to believe
that now we never met in that one place
neither of us says we have been,
and yet here we are
in the midst of our created history.”
As he begins to speak, she realizes
this conversation will, as usual,
devolve into a monologue.
It is always this way, and
with a finely honed skill,
she, eyes wide open,
slips out of this moment.
She is certain, correctly so,
he will never notice.
He will fill in her nods, assume
she has heard and agreed,
and this pleases him greatly.
It is always like this, the script
unvarying, it is simply
words, words, words.
She knows this and lives with it
more from Newton’s law,
her own Yorick awaiting
a Hamlet she knows is gone.