the fact of the matter is
if a cavity in your tooth needed filling
when you were 19
you had it done and paid the bill.
you didn’t have dental insurance
or any kind of insurance
didn’t have any of those sweet comforts
of middle age:
the upper income numbing pillows
of health insurance
gift unearned insurance.
if you sneezed there was no one to say God bless you
no my prayers are with you murmurs
into your sleeping tucked-in face.
you were alone with the dust
in the corners of your rented room
something you would only casually notice
as you raced off eager
for anything that might come your way.
if you tore your only pair
of cool bell-bottom blue jeans
you threaded your one sewing needle
with a piece of thread
from the one dusty spool
you kept for emergencies
in a shoebox with some band-aides
a screwdriver and jumper cables
on a shelf near some paperback novels
dealing with philosophical issues
you were too young to understand.
ha ! what a combination !
jumper cables with philosophical novels.
not in the trunk of your Volkswagen Bug
where they might come in handy
some cold rainy night
on a dark curvy road without guardrails.
you never needed those jumper cables anyway
and you can’t remember
the titles of those books
and if you had been asked
so what are your goals ?
by a stranger on a Tuesday night in January 1970
in an amber lit bar on a quiet street
in a dreary river town in upstate New York
after it had snowed a mixture of mostly ice
and freezing rain all day
you would have answered with some more questions:
what do you mean ?
what are those ?