Charlie Brown: Someday, we will all die, Snoopy.
Snoopy: True, but on all the other days, we will not.
–¬†Charles Schultz

We don’t know how lucky we are till we’re old

Someday we’ll die, but on all the other days, we won’t

How lucky I was

The cheap, unremarkable pension

Its creaky bedsprings

The untroubled sleep of a young woman in Provence with her mother

Le petit dejeuner served at long tables in a dim room

Though we knew out the narrow windows all of Arles was waking

under its blue dome of sky

The tang of freshly stewed apricot preserves

phosphorescent on the table between us

A basket of fat croissants

brown, flaked, sun-scorched

smelling of butter and earth

In each mouthful the hum of a cow, a distinctly French cow

philosophical, intellectual, marveling

In each munch of grass

the whole cornucopia of existence

Everything in this world–the grass, the salt, the fat–

rising to the top

My mother across the table from me

humming with the sheer pleasure of it

Her blue eyes

burning through clouds of steam from our cafes au lait

as they somersaulted and disappeared joyfully upwards into the dome

The cathedral of summer, of possibility, of apricots ripening in the orchard

The peasant women Van Gogh painted washing their bedclothes in the Rhone

always and forever washing their bedclothes in the Rhone

The white sheets we’d slept in already scrubbed

and rippling on the rooftop like sails

Going everywhere, going nowhere

It was morning, it was breakfast

We were eating light and earth

Drinking deep from bowls of uprisingness

The day cupped in our hands

Each bite eternal, planetary

As if we could break bread with the sun

Hold an entire season in the arc of our lucky, outstretched arms

Quite certain now that someday we will die

But on all the other days, we won’t


Posted with kind permission of the poet.