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The Distant Future

he tells himself, i hate this morning because
it is as though he has woken up from a long dream and finally lucid and in the stillness
of the early light there is nothing but to wait for the sound of the tea kettle and it's like
he is frozen in that moment for ever and ever, the blades of the box fan at the window
motionless like a broken clock and the sunlight catches a single spider web
shining like a line of diamond and there he is, waiting for something to happen

but in truth the notion occurs to him at odd moments--opening the jar of generic multivitamins;
putting the wet laundry in the drier;
pulling the brown leaves from the tomato plant at the window-
the notion that she's with someone else
that she's chosen another man and he imagines their life together
and what it must be like to exchange idle i love you's
and to make an omelette or sew in a lost shirt button or walk in the door sweating and heaving from a run
while hearing the sounds of her watching her morning news program and the children
begging to be the first to show their crayon drawing of a Dinosaur

and when this happens he is angry with himself because
it is an invented nostalgia and he is a grown man who does not have time
for such silly imaginings, such disappointments in love that
do not make phone calls or pay bills or clean house or go to work or take the car to the shop
or in any way get through the lonely tedium of the day
the long and futile exercise of living
in this bizarre world where it is always Monday and it is always March and
the only thing to return home to is the hum of the refrigerator
which is a sound that one seldom hears at all
but once heard it is the loudest sound in all the world

and so he hates this morning because
of the quiet surrender to the reality that

this moment of opening the fridge and realizing there only remains a little milk
and he will have to soon walk through the too-cold aisles of supermarket
pushing a cart with a rattling wheel through the grimy tile, this moment
is a moment that is forever and he is frozen within in it, frozen in time, and he will
open this same refrigerator door in a different city someday and realize that he is
a very old man
and that those who knew him are dead or gone

so he hates this morning because, well, these things that he can see and touch
and experience and this life that only he lives and this air that only he breathes
it is real and not a dream
but no one will ever know that and so he is the possessor of a terrible secret
and such a secret will make a man most alone in the world, but then he thinks
none of that even makes any sense
oh what am I even talking about, I must be going crazy
I can't think about this right now, I have all of these things I gotta do

and there are more pressing concerns in the world, man,
children are starving and there is rape and murder and war and injustice
no one gives a shit that some girl broke your heart
and seriously that was months ago so let's get the fuck over it, man
and stop dreaming about it and waking up on a pillow soaked warm with tears
and stop thinking about it at odd moments
like when you wish you could tell someone that putting your hands into jacket pockets makes you happy;
that you had the craziest dream last night about us being on a train to Prague and we were a lion tamers;
that did three miles in your run this morning 26 seconds faster than the morning before;
that your comedy show went really well and wait until I tell you all the gossip.

and so he hates this morning because it is a morning in which
he can collect and quantify all of these things and look at them in a manner which
he realizes that they are all tantamount to nothing and
maybe it doesn't mean anything at all to live or die or love
and when the tea kettle finally whistles and cuts the silence it is like a spell being broken


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