My first administrative assistant, lovely Edna,
so kind, so Southern Baptist. I can hear her
booming voice with its hint of a chuckle.
Edna prayed for me. She prayed for everyone,
but especially for this beer-drinking Yankee
who didn’t believe in heaven,
and so surely is going to hell.
My definition of hell is to never know
the answers to my long list of questions,
while forever craving, deeply yearning.
I had a boss say, “I don’t know what you don’t
know.” I said, “I don’t know what I don’t know.”
I know which of us is smarter.
I dwell on life’s great mysteries but find
the small ones equally confounding:
The Bermuda Triangle and traffic circles.
I flinch when I see a silverfish
or a centipede in the house.
I ask it: What are you doing up here?
You have the entire basement.
Even when they trespass, like the thin spider
that dropped from the ceiling
into the white porcelain bowl
while I was making breakfast,
rather than squash it
I transported the creature outside and
shooed it into the strawberry bed.
I strive each day to be more a source of light
than just a reflection of it.
Human cruelty perplexes me.
The death of a glacier saddens me.
Kind acts make me cry.
While human indifference incenses me,
my cat’s indifference makes me laugh.
If I’m wrong and Edna’s right,
I’m going to miss seeing
a lot of good people when I die,
and I know I won’t get answers there.
And still I ask the questions:
What is my place in the universe?
Where did I park the car?