When I talk to my friends I pretend I am standing on the wings of a flying plane. I cannot be trusted to tell them how I am. Or if I am falling to earth weighing less than a dozen roses. Sometimes I dream they have broken up with their lovers and are carrying food to my house. When I open the mailbox I hear their voices like the long upward-winding curve of a train whistle passing through the tall grasses and ferns after the train has passed. I never get ahead of their shadows. I embrace them in front of moving cars. I keep them away from my miseries because to say I am miserable is to say I am like them.
Copyright© 2005 by Jason Shinder. First published in The American Poetry Review, November/December 2005. From Stupid Hope (Graywolf, 2009). Appears with permission of the Literary Estate of Jason Shinder.