Sunday, December 8, 2019

On Paper

Life looks good on paper, life
In the lived, the wide, wild world,
Life of the adventurer—that life

That looks good on paper,
Full of exotic travel, nature,
Culture, and rich detail,

May not be the life
To admire, however, may
Not be as sweet as the life

Ignored. Consider
The sunlight, intense
On this wall, on this water,

Consider the quiet
Of a subdivision that is
Lucky to be quiet, almost

Nowhere. You used to get
The shudders, driving through
The suburbs, your heart

Pounding as if your lungs
Were collapsing without air.
What is it, now, you like there?

Life is not the life on paper,
Nor lived in the marks
That record it, the pictures,

Not even in the doodled
Margins where you scribbled,
Reader, envious notes

To each other, to lives
That looked better on paper.
Life is the paper,

And this, this bare,
Spare, barren expanse
Of blank moments

In these desert subdivisions
By the low, marshy, reedy Virgin
River, is papyrus, this favor.

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