Perfect Timing ~ Ruth Foley

If we were to wait a moment for the things

we refuse to know—the waiting of early February,


of the sky that grays before the storm, scent

of cold, like metal waiting under ice—


so that we find ourselves helpless beneath

the weight of it all, then what? A man once


told me, angrily, that I needed patience, needed

to believe in the tiniest spark of luck, that want


of perfect timing can set us to a frenzy

of spinning it is impossible to pull out from.


Or a sculpture in a dark corner can spark us

to a blaze in wonder that cannot stay silent


and we’ll stomp our wordless shoes against

the blue carpet at the museum. How dangerous


we are. How words can leave us overcome.

We hold ourselves apart even now in case we find


ourselves imagining that which we want most,

the place we cannot lift ourselves from.


Aren’t we half-blinded by sunlight? Don’t we want

to find a shadowed bench? If we move, if we,


for even a moment leave the things we thought

we were or thought we needed—the salt on the road,


the vacuum lines on the carpet, the sleeping dog,

the wind before the snowfall lifting last autumn’s leaves


into a whorl—if we leave these things, who have we

become? How could we stop ourselves from waiting?


Every night, we are the sleeping and the walking.

We rush barefoot into the drifts of patient snow.


What is useless then? Shovel, bag of rock salt,

two small guards standing vigil by the gaping door.