Sometimes, I wonder if I would know a beautiful thing
if I saw it. So often, I was miserable when I was young,
even in California with the ocean close and fat seals
munching flatfish, tonguing urchins in their molars,
sunning themselves pink by the sandy primrose. I ignored
the whistle of the rock-faced mountain and her chorus
of dry hills, walked past the blazing stars and lemons in
dramatic ripe. I was so sad out west. The truth is I am
most exquisite on the east coast, meaning I am in rhythm.
I do not track the world by beauty but joy. That first bite
into the soft carrot of tagine stew while a storm wailed
over the East River. The misfit raccoon bouncing on
trash bins in Central Park after we saw a Japanese play.
We almost crashed a wedding that night at the Boathouse
but lost our nerve. We were not dressed for the caper,
but even this felt like rogue joy. Yes. It was joy, wasn’t it?
Even if it was ugly, it was joy.