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Sometimes the why of things

escapes me. Sometimes I think my soul is like a fist
that on occasion opens. A man on the boat yesterday

refused to wear a mask. Others yelled at him.
“Fuck you all,” he yelled back. A man two seats down

couldn’t stand it a moment longer, put his hands
over his ears, buried his head in his crossed arms.

Meanwhile the boat was surrounded on all sides
by open water. We don’t get to live forever.

At that moment I was pretty much down on my knees.
Suddenly it went dead quiet on the boat.

An old man two rows up pulled out a newspaper
and pretended to be reading. I wanted to get off that boat

and find the nearest Bellini. Maybe the one in the Accademia
where the mother of God holds the child tightly

and looks down and away from us,
a sly look on her face, as if she knows a secret.

A tree to the left of her and one to the right.
Blue mountains and a sky rinsed clean

with a light not of this earth.



Jim Moore’s most recent book of poetry is Prognosis (Graywolf). He lives in Minneapolis and Spoleto, Italy, with his wife, the photographer JoAnn Verburg. Other poems are forthcoming in the New York Review of Books and Plume.




Photo by Andrew Sprague on Unsplash

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