My friends, the worriers, make themselves miserable,
I suppose, in preparation for the misery to come.
They must be practicing for the time lightning will destroy
their houses, or for when their spouses die
on that famous fog-plagued strip of road. Bird flu
and if their hotel room will be too close to the ice machine
often begin to live side by side in their minds.
They can’t help it, they say, these servants of catastrophe,
often adding that I seem to suffer from underworry,
which causes them to worry for and about me the more.
And so, since worry always trumps the absence of worry,
to live with them is to live on their terms. Don’t worry
I’ve learned not to say, which is other-planetary language
to them, cold, unsympathetic, the language of someone
whole wouldn’t help them build a bomb shelter
after they’d seen the end of the world in a dream.
Try to be reasonable, is the button that triggers the bomb.
I try to love them for their other qualities,
like being right about most other things, or how good
they are in the kitchen or the workplace or the bed.
But if not for my sake, then for their own, shouldn’t
they worry less, or at least privately? Every once in a while
shouldn’t they say, Forgive me my worries?
But a semi is always running a stop sign, one of the big
hemlocks topples in a storm. Then they point to the world
news. What’s wrong with you, they want to know.
Don’t you know what’s out there? A failure of imagination,
they say. A man who’s a clear danger to himself.