The grass is wet under my shoes.
I can’t feel it, but I know
I didn’t plan to end up here,
I didn’t plan on drinking a beer,
And I didn’t plan on the absence of fear.
“You know, it’s pretty crazy that I’m going to be a dad.”
I look over to my friend,
“Yeah, ha it is! You going to teach him to be a punter like his daddy?”
“Bro, you KNOW punters get all the chicks.”
I don’t think this was planned.
You can never be so sure in hypothetical situations,
But I’m pretty sure I didn’t plan this.
I wouldn’t have put the sun shining through the
Branches of the tree quite like it is, in
A way that makes a painting more beautiful,
But really difficult on the two
Painted dudes’ eyes in the picture.
Though I guess its fitting.
I always watched my thoughts about my last day
Play out like a movie, third person.
I never lived them.
Still, the glare is a pain in the ass.
The old hoop above the garage is cool though,
A nice touch.
It’s got that splintered wood backboard and
Peeling paint, the kind that makes you picture
Some family games of one on one, board and chain net
Worn from use.
The splintered part is probably from
A pissed off little brother who knew
His victorious older brother could
Beat him up, and figured he had better odds
Against the ball and backboard.
I’m happy I didn’t splinter any backboards today.
Though it is alarming, my lack of passion,
My lack of urgency.
My buddy and I have been out in this backyard
For a good forty minutes.
The kind of forty minutes that gives you
Enough time to get just deep enough
With someone you’ve known on the fringes
To reflect on one idea you’ve never
Really thought about.
They just nonchalantly say it,
And you listen
The kind of forty minutes to give you
Enough time to share in a conversation
That comes so naturally
With someone you kinda know.
Not enough time to overthink
A preposterous perfection
Though the weirdest part
Is he knows.
He knows the craziness of the situation,
The absurdity of existing in a written
Hypothetical, and the unavoidable
Truth waiting at the end of it.
But that doesn’t stop him from bringing up
That one time he completed an impossible
Comeback in corn hole, drunk.
Nor commenting on the
Horrendous construction of the plastic
Lawn chairs we are sitting on.
Nor observing the crisp bite of a cold beer
And how that just makes you
Feel a certain kind of satisfied.
His wife is inside, with her friends.
I tagged along so he wouldn’t be alone
Another irony, but he doesn’t mention it.
To think of everything,
The mood over our chat,
Getting at things
We both understand well enough to
Know we can’t articulate.
The house of his wife’s friend,
A place I never knew existed
Till my last day here.
That fact that we both find it
Hilarious and fitting that
These last minutes are being
Spent on cheap plastic lawn chairs.
The perfection of all this
Is that it happened.
And we let it.
I think after the
Mists of these thoughts
Settled over our bodies
Was when he knew.
So we sat, we squinted,
For a few minutes.
Confused slightly but thankful
In a manner too deep to say ‘thanks’.
And that brought us to here.
There is no big deal to be made
He knows two things it seems,
That he should go, and
I like handshakes.
So I watch him stand up, as I stand
Too. Hands already reaching.
“I better get back, Cat is probably drowning.”
“Go save her then.”
What else do you say to a buddy?
I spent too many years forcing and faking things
To force anything now.
I think that’s probably the most important
Thing I realize.
I watch him walk back inside, thinking
He is going to make a good dad,
An honest one,
And I resume my seat.
I wish I could tell you more about the yard.
More about the conversation
And my buddy.
Home, my family and friends,
Are not with me, they are far away.
But they aren’t changed
So I don’t force it.
Sitting on the cheap lawn furniture
Of my buddy’s wife’s friend’s house,
I look past the old hoop and through
Squinting at the last.
Just as the first time I saw the light.