A family is gathering for a meal
outside Spokane
the daughter is still
wearing her soccer uniform
the mother is chatting
as she passes the potatoes
the father is nonverbal, tired
trying to engage the dog is
waiting for someone to share

They will finish their dinners
their conversations
their homework
they will turn on the television
the phone will ring several times
it will not be me

No one in that house knows
I live across the continent or
I have tales to tell of my youth
of my life, of what I did yesterday
they don’t know I can cook or play
guitar, or that I’m writing a poem
they don’t know I’ve never
been to Spokane and
they’re not concerned

they are finding their dreams
building their lives
breaking their hearts
living out their days
without knowing me
and they are not the only ones

In all my years
the phone has never rung
and a voice declared
“Come quickly to Spokane
we just realized we can’t
go on without you”
the same could be said
for the table across the room
from me here in the coffee shop

the gossamer tether of humanity
doesn’t appear to reach as far
as the next booth unless the light
is just right and I can see the lines
I’m not sure which view
is easier to live with


  1. ok, the “gossamer tether of humanity” really pulled me in; then the last line, i am sorry i have to ask, i don’t mean to over analyze, it is beautiful just to read , but do you mean when we do feel that intimate, hidden connection with others, even strangers, that is more difficult to deal with than the separateness we feel all around?
    i like how you put this thought down. i am forever thinking HOW many people there are in the world–and how i/we are such a minute portion…it depresses others if i speak of it, but it’s not meant to be…but this pretty much says it, right here.

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