Thomas Geffen

Conversations

We have these conversations

You and I

Their brevity bequeaths an indelible remnant

 

“Next time” we say

and next time again the same

 

We have our parts:

-Late worker; laid-off worker

-Poor student; poorer child

-Baby on board; baby on ARVs

 

I hide behind my glass

You hide behind your cardboard

 

The gravity of these two worlds passing

Sometimes shakes a coin loose

Sometimes shakes a hand

Usually shakes a head

 

I wonder what indulgence keeps a man on the street

You wonder what salary keeps a man in a car

 

Indulgence

It starts with supplication

In penitence we confess

On your knees you beg mercy

In my leather pew I bow my head

 

Into your outstretched hands

I place a copper wafer

To my parched lips the chalice

Drink the guilt of giving

 

“God bless” we say

until next time blessings the same

 

I took you in my car to dinner, once

Perhaps to integrate these two worlds

Perhaps to show-off my world

 

Those were the days

We used to chat more

Weather, sport, politics

Small talk & big smiles

 

I opened my window to let guilt out

You opened your hands to let hope in

 

In that red-robot fist-pound

We asked:

Could you be me?

Could I be you?

 

In that green-robot thumbs-up

We wondered:

Would I be another of the same?

Would you be another of the same?

 

And so we answered:

I bought you two pies, for you and a co-worker

You ate them both

The co-worker went hungry

 

So if you could be me and I could be you

You’d be just like me, and I just like you

Two pies to eat and apologies to give

 

So we are the same

Another of the same

Our shoes are different

But we wouldn’t trade them away