I Know Someone
by: Mary Oliver
I know someone who kisses the way
a flower opens, but more rapidly.
Flowers are sweet. They have
short, beatific lives. They offer
much pleasure. There is
nothing in the world that can be said
Sad, isn't it, that all they can kiss
is the air.
Yes, yes! We are the lucky ones.
I know someone who worries about his furnace all the time. Who stays up late, listens to it hum to life, and when it does hum to life, he waits for it to fall silent again Then he sits on the couch and waits for it to hum to life again.
I know someone who gets stoned every once in awhile because it reminds him of cruising with his friends when he was in high school, them looking to score some beer or pot. It was a December night before Christmas, cold as leftover ham, when he shared a joint with them for the first time and felt all his worries slip away like melting ice cream. He didn't worry about gym class or that pretty girl's ass in physics or dissecting the cat in biology or whether he was going to hell because he masturbated two or three times a night and didn't feel any guilt whatsoever.
I know someone who misses when his daughter thought he could do no wrong and would beg him to read her just one more chapter of Charlotte's Web because she loved the voice he used for Templeton, his best impersonation of Paul Lynde on Hollywood Squares. She would fall asleep before he was done reading, and he would put his face next to hers so he could smell her five-year-old breath, like milk just before it goes sour.
I know someone who tries to be perfect every day, fails, and then spends the rest of the day trying to figure out how not to fail again. But then he realizes that he's like a dandelion in a summer lawn. Golden. Sort of beautiful. Sort of a nuisance. Until the wind comes along and scatters him all across the universe.
I know someone who thinks he's a poet and dreams of wandering around with his journal and pen, writing things like "there was a duck in the lake, a mallard that taught me the difference between being a feather and a leaf." He doesn't want to live just one or two nights a month when there's an open mic and people actually want to listen to the stuff he scribbles between lunch and dinner, dinner and Netflix, Netflix and insomnia.
I know someone who wants to be a snow goose searching for water to land in and music belching out of a pipe organ at Saturday evening Mass and Jordan Catalano being mooned over by Claire Danes in My So-Called Life and a Christmas tree blazing in the middle of January when all the other Christmas trees are packed away in attics or sitting on top of snowbanks, waiting to be mulched or burned.
I know someone who wouldn't mind being kissed the way a flower opens, Short, beatific, beautiful kisses.
Yes, Saint Marty is lucky. Really, really lucky.
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