What if your life was at the bottom of that dude’s cooler?
Your eternity, that bit of liquid there;
You see it, rolling around the Styrofoam seams
Lost, wandering, this way and that way
Until it dries up, or the dog licks it
In hopes of something better.
You, YOUR life and dreams,
What does 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60
Or 70 matter … a century even?
Some live a week, maybe only a day;
Others lose count or don’t count.
They simply stop working.
It could be worse, right?
It could be maybe that muddy hole instead?
You know, the one your bare-child foot got stuck in
Back when you had hope and dreams?
No, better than plastic-type white,
This one dark, warm and dirty—the primordial soup
–A mommy’s womb–
The other bright, artificial and painfully clean.
What we all seem to want but do not want.
What we want to be but are not.
But critters lie there
Or do they lay?
Often hard on the outside, soft on the inside
We, all wrong, soft on the outside and hard on the inside.
What if we are like bugs, too?
What if God is the squished bug you see, over there,
On that old book that no one reads
But you keep for an unknown reason?
You like its oldness but don’t care about the inside.
Books are not like people with God’s innards smashed on the outside.
Maybe he, no she, yes, her
Those girls don’t need us.
They clone themselves and make a better you-me.
Because they cannot find love anyway.
But did you ever look close enough?
To stare at the dark eyes, all chocolate chip,
And see what 120-million years sees?
What does she see in thee and thee see in she?
What if a bug is more than a bug?
What if they are significant—in years—
And prophesied that they flew around the sun?
That they are the center?
How many have you killed
Like the dog that licked you up
Or the half-eaten chicken wing that you cannot finish?
It died for that.
It’s whole life to be “lick ‘in” or bitten only once
And tossed aside,
The creator mushed on a book,
Your life a pang of indigestion,
What if you could see you like others see you?
What a legacy in thee?
Are humans that important?
But how many have fallen in coolers, in mud pits
Or down a nose and throat
And are swallowed?
No worries, they are healthy, much protein
Even spiders and houseflies.
Even you, with some extra fat and sugar though.
She made us all wrong.
Too big to be eaten
And too small to save the world.
Maybe we are just a mistake—the experiment that won’t go away—only 4 million years
And for all of this?
Maybe that is eternity? Chocolate chip eyes,
Or little black beads of pearl …
Black holes are where we find them.
No, it’s all wrong, the agnostic prophesy, of the once priest-like
That loved to love others that did not love back.
I’ve learned that God harbors in dark spaces:
Crouches, lurks, where no “good” soul wants to go.
We run from nature … from the natural
And drown and die in artificial coolers
All the while, believing that we are important.
Look up at the sky
When it’s very dark
Drive out to red-neck country
And get a good view of what lurks above.
It looks just like a chocolate chip eye, the sky,
Only so much bigger than you
Staring back at you.
What is better?
When it’s dark?
Or if it’s white?
What is wrong?
Or what is right?
Does death know the difference?
Earl Yarington (LMSW) is a social worker and school bus driver. He taught literature and writing for nearly 20 years and spent 3 years working in forensic social work internships with offending populations, including work at Delaware Correctional facilities and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He has a PhD in literature and criticism (feminism/women writers) from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Master of Social Work from Louisiana State University, and an interdisciplinary Master of Liberal Arts from Arizona State University, where he studied the impact of visual image and girlhood in media/social media. He also has an MA and BS in English from SUNY College at Brockport. The opinions and analyses that Earl writes are his own and are not necessarily the positions or views of his employers, the agencies he supports, or that of his colleagues. Reach out with comments or questions.