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A Small Gift

If you’re like me you’ll know I’m calling

five minutes before the phone rings,

or you’ll open a book

left on a shelf and find that quote

you were trying to remember five minutes ago


If you’re like me, five minutes after

you round the corner thinking of someone

you’ll find him sitting there in a coffee shop

reading his newspaper and if you’re like me


You can’t bend spoons or levitate or anything

like that; perhaps you’re lying on your stomach

concentrating, watching a fish as it slips

between the fronds and moss of some shaded bend

in a stream, wondering if it will find a wriggler there

and that afternoon you find your old history book

and laugh at how you underlined the words

Diet of Worms


Or you get this craving for an out-of-season banana

and your niece calls from Australia—she’s just got a new

yellow canary and guess what she’s calling it


And if you’re like me every once in a while you’ll try

to figure it out, how sometimes you see the world

like two partly overlapping pages or two identical trains

going from here to somewhere one five minutes in front

but it’s not something you can figure out at all


So here we are, you and I and I don’t know how many others,

thinkers, poets, busy mothers, waitresses, postmen, just

ordinary folk, opening a book, answering the phone,

sitting in a café, wishing every so often


We could see a little further, understand a little more,

but most of the time just accepting this tiny gift

with a smile of recognition just five minutes

after we receive it

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© Johnmichael Simon


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