Forever Grateful

Peter Verbica

You asked for a key to the cabinet.

The one with the secrets
of your ancestors to explain the present:

why your skin is allergic to water,
or your brain is on fire.

Why, at times,
you have trouble remembering things.

Why the scent of certain women
causes your heart to sing.

Before I answer that,
contemplate the following:

Has the little computer
in your pocket
robbed you from making maps
in your mind?

First the calculations and ability
to estimate.

Then, as reading becomes difficult,
you instinctively scan
for anomalies.

Taken from the farm

where seeds are grown, stored, planted,
you become a nomad once again.

A hunter.

Away from the fingers
snug in white gloves,
away from the balconies and arias.

To discover that an Apple which is sweet
is also bitter.

Back to your first request
which I havenʼt forgotten.

If you chip away the rotting wood

of the caskets,

youʼll find your questions in the bones.

Are we the transporters
of mindless microbes?

Did we evolve past our masters?

Now, here we are,
trying to make meaning of
complex things.

In our cathedrals, temples
and synagogues.

Rule 30 at a train station.
Fractals in flowers.
A shellʼs spiral.

Blessings upon the Episcopal priest
who while on sabbatical
negotiates an understanding,

as he does nothing
for six weeks

and sits in a rocking chair,
wrapped in a knitted blanket.

He answers a conundrum
to himself
of how water will ebb and flow

under winterʼs ice.

Sipping a glass of red wine
by an animated fire,

he told me the outcome
of his research and

I will be forever grateful.

Peter Coe Verbica grew up on a commercial cattle ranch in Northern California. He obtained a BA and JD from Santa Clara University and an MS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is married and has four daughters.