The Color Only Found in Caves
for Phil Geist
It isn’t something I’m sure I can properly articulate.
A sort of struggle between my mouth and my mind.
Either it’s getting better or I’m just growing used to
the pain. Baldinger says that we are all getting old
and weird and we were already weird to begin with.
Look at us with our brand new medical conditions.
People regularly disappoint me. Even those closest
to me. Maybe especially those who’re closest to me.
I disappoint myself too—but I forgive myself easily.
I’m too in love with certain things of this world—
and I know that. That young student who snorted
when she laughed. Or the boathouse on the river
that my old teacher Petey pointed out to me while
we were out on his Boston Whaler. Or else the box
of letters I have sitting on a shelf, waiting for me.
And stories—I love a story with a surprise ending.
Phil told us the story of how once, when he was
a child, he was climbing a tree and his grandfather
saw him, but instead of yelling at him for doing it,
which Phil thought he was going to, he yelled up
at him, “Keep on going—you’re almost at the top!”