Man After Diagnosis

by Ann Boaden

He stands and watches
the rites of morning:
the school bus paused beside the curb
its lights pulsing cherry dots;
the slow swing-out of its STOP flap,
and the small lively snails
under Frozen pink backpacks
jumping the steps;
the pre-owned Corollas
battering rap
at the teens second-skinned in levis,
so glossily
aware and unaware;
the gray RVs
elbowed by intent moms and workers
clutching smart phones and domed lattes;
the slow gleaming walkers
of old women in crocheted caps
rocking along after
their leashed
sedately curious dogs:
all, all
deep as the wild cherry’s roots
swift as the new blooms that open and fly and rust—
he stands and watches.
What are you thinking of, he wonders,
you, troughed in this safe risk of habit;
and how does one extricate himself
from it all,
from all the oh unspeakable dearness
of the ordinary
on the thinning edge of abyss
or freedom…