The Bluebird

Each old thing in its new place must prove its worth yet again.  Dust is disturbed, having made itself at home    among what former tenants have found wanting.  A friend brings a gift to brighten my room then leaves    a cruel word to move in with me. Good and bad don’t always line up opposite.   Nearing the end of an earlier journey, I’d stopped at  a roadside motel whose name ameliorated    the experience of staying there  not at all. Around it rose the dark forest of the Shield country,    endless differentiation appearing undifferentiated though one had the sense of something slowly,   unrelentingly, being taken apart within. Ahead lay great happiness, great sorrow, and it seems to me now   a decision was to be made between them then, though the conditions for such a choice did not exist.    The past is so poorly constructed, so unsuited to the living  that must be done, we might wish for the forest to grow up around it —   but knowledge can’t replace the facts  of its acquisition. They continue to perform    in the events they set in motion  whether we remember them or not.   I was hungry, it was very late. Across the four lanes  northbound, southbound, divided in my memory    by a waist-high steel girder, a gas station convenience store’s  neon still awake. Seldom a break in the traffic,    footbridge miles away. To get to the other side quickly  meant taking your life in your hands.

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