I’ve Come to Help You
I've come to help you, she said,
The wind is strong and it might
Blow you over. I don't want you to fall.
Two others called out:
First: Man, she's taking care of you;
Then: You're one lucky guy today.
She held out her elbow for
Him to take. They left
The building, headed for his car.
Watch your step, this wind
Is fierce. He tightened his hold
On her arm. Thanks, he said.
The southern sky was robin's egg blue;
Black clouds were approaching from the north.
In between, weather-making wind was buffeting.
Here we are, she said, opening his door.
He slid safely into the driver's seat,
Kissing his forehead, she patted his shoulder.
Made it! he shouted ceremoniously.
We usually do, she smiled.
He inserted the key into the ignition.
The folk invoke their Immanuel.
Immanuel, Immanuel, God be with us!
Oprah, Oprah, the Barbies exult.
They wait for Judge Judy,
Then quiver in rapture
When the Judge and the Bird emerge.
Tyra, Tyra, the Thumbelinas praise!
On another stage Ellen conjures
The Believers' spirits,
Then they arise and rejoice.
Each time the floor director gives
The cue, the people go to a
Perfect world, riding My
Little Pony to Eden. A fulfilled
Life begins by pulling a string
Grounded in a memory chip.
At a round rest stop table
The usual can of pork
And beans, plain, nothing added
To make them seem more
Than they were, was the only side.
The mother prepared simple
Bologna sandwiches, neat,
With no mayo or lettuce,
And the ordinary meal
Became a summer picnic:
It was an unbroken circle,
Singing songs of childhood.
They were like westward
Pioneers who stopped
Someplace near here decades sooner
To locate themselves
In a family way.
Standing in the snow
Nothing read on a screen can
Be considered anything like
A book, he said with a tenacious
Grip on certainty. A book is
A book is a book; it has pages
And it has a spine, he grumbled.
Books use words, of course,
Not pixels. To hold a book,
He said, just feels good.
Why do you suppose people
Created screens? I asked.
He was wearing sandals
Like a young man years earlier
Standing in the snow at
Hadrian's Wall, the pride
Of Rome and the civilized
World. He looked at me with
Imperious eyes and grunted:
They didn't do it for me.