Are the 16 oz. beer-cans I find on the sidewalk
2nd or 20th or 2000th cousins on the causal tree
to the failure of snowdrops to bloom this March?
Where did the two limbs first diverge?
And have they intersected one another since?

You work forward; I’ll work in reverse.
You start with Genesis and see how far you get —
note everything that Noah and his sons unpacked,
then trace what happened next.
I’ll try to reconstruct what took place in my garden
and along the sidewalk, going back to last spring.
If you catch sight of me, or I you, in the distance,
we’ll wave, send puffs of smoke up, give a shout.

I couldn’t tell you why I want to know.
I feel like that young man hawking popsicles
barefoot on the beach at Lavallette
who walked up and said, “You look like my relative.”
He just had a feeling, as if one of those shimmering
dream cummerbunds of heat that hover over sand
on summer afternoons like lines of scripture
had momentarily allowed itself to be read.

Something tells me the beer-cans and snowdrops
have a relationship, as everything under the sun
must have some relationship, if we can only find it.
And you and I have ours.
There is a glint in both our eyes which working on
this other, less consequential matter together
just might possibly lengthen into a gleam.


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