This slender string


It is dusk. On a bench on the west side of Beaver Hill Park, a man is bent over,
throwing up.
His girl friend is balanced at the far end of the bench, watching, then turning away.

He waits for the next spasm, it comes and he leans farther out. Sunglasses,
pushed above his forehead, slip back, white shirt, held to his stomach, is unstained.

She is shifting, half-sitting, alighted, keeping much of her skirt free of the bench.
She looks at elms, sees them lean over an empty concrete pond,
watches for a crack in the air through which she can slip and vanish.

She remembers her strawberry dreams, repeats them to herself, over and over.
He retches again, into the bricks, splashing his shoes. 

She steels herself, straightens, stands and walks the shortest passage out of the park.
He bawls after her, motions to follow, falls back, sees himself in his own liquid,
still here, years later.

I am watching this from a bench under a dying branch, brown leaves unable to fall.
Behind me, up the hill, two bodies are asleep on the grass,
one has an arm around an orange plastic bag, half-full of bottles.

I am wondering the accidents, the slender string of decisions,
most minor, many unwilled, that have placed us all hereā€”even the trees.



  1. It is pretty strange to think about how people become who they are, end up where they do. We would all be in much different situations with different levels of support, financial, emotional, spiritual…

  2. I agree Teryl, how different our lives would be if we were born in a different neighbourhood, let alone a different culture, country. Add to that the choices we make, and don’t make, and it’s, well, humbling and mind numbing, but interesting to think about. Thanks for reading!

  3. Options for decisions appear, and disappear, and appear again, in the context of the communities in which we find ourselves. Conversations open and close possibilities…..

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