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The mundane sustains us.

The breakfast sandwich
with its egg, cheese, bacon.
An egg-nog latte from the
nearby coffee stand
that you know you probably
shouldn’t have, but do it anyway.
The way you place your ferry pass
in the place where sunglasses
are supposed to go.

Today, the ferry captain
announces that there are
Orca whales passing by
the starboard side
of the boat. In this moment,
you learn that starboard
means the right side
and you also see your
first orca. This is not
mundane, of course, and
you make note of that
in the folds of your brain.

Then off to the library
to research grants. You
discover that it’s possible
to have two library cards
from different counties
at one time. You savor
this information like a
child holding two dripping
ice cream cones, each a
different flavor.

Driving away from the library,
it all seems to much. There
are not enough hours in the day
to get all the work done.
You are stretched too thin
(as always) and it’s no longer
as fun as it once was.

Parking the car on the corner
of First and Jackson in
downtown Seattle, you turn
the engine off and cry.
Cry because Mercury is in
retrograde for ten more days.
Cry because of hormones.
Cry because you fear of
ending up alone.
(like most people do.)

But when Billy Collins
takes the stage later
that evening at Town Hall,
the world rights itself.
Life can’t be all that bad
when there are Billy Collins-es
in the world, to tell you
that they are as old as Cheerios.
To tell you that dogs write poetry
in heaven, while cats write prose.
To tell the woman who asks the question:
“Litany is one of my favorite poems, and
I was just wondering, what would it take
for you to tell someone that they were
the pine-scented air?”

“Well, you are. You are the pine-scented air.”

With a flick of his irreverent wrist,
Billy Collins, in his khaki suit coat
sends this woman the missive she has
been waiting her entire life to hear.

And you walk away knowing
that we are all really
the pine-scented air.

Billy Collins signs my copy of Aimless Love at Town Hall Seattle. Photo by Sarah Samudre.

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