Without Me

Without me

gravity keeps the earth

in orbit around the sun;

waves break on Oregon's shores,

a million or more wildebeest

migrate across the Serengeti,

wars fought and lost in the name of god.


But you,

you would never go to Albuquerque,

you would not live and teach in Boston,

you would not know your multiplication tables,

you would not travel to Ushuaia,

ride a train at the end of the world,

you would not wear a tie-dye bandana,

you would not join the Air Force,

you would not learn how to walk,

your left cheek would not sport a one-inch scare,

you would have one less surgery to perform,

one less fool to baptize,


And you without me

might have stopped drinking,

might still be alive.


You, on the other hand,

You will drown in the Arkansas River,

You will go to Alaska,

your seed will sprout in less barren soil,

you will look elsewhere for answers,

someone else will break your heart,

you will find someone else to blame.


And you and you and you and

you and you and you,

free from my identifying strands,

you will take on a fierce,

unfamiliar form.


But without me

the dodo bird exists

only in pictures,

the wind ripples

grass on Oklahoma plains.


When lighting strikes it makes a sound.





From Poetic Asides: Today's prompt is to write a poem in which you imagine the world without you. Since my favorite movie (It's a Wonderful Life) plays with this idea, I'm surprised I've never used this prompt before. The world could be a much worse place without you, could be pretty much the same, or I guess, it could even be better. Anyway, it's interesting to contemplate our individual contributions to this planet in ways small and large. The photo came from http://www.insurevents.com/.