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Posted by on Mar 24, 2006

Perfunctory

As perfunctory as a flower,

I linger at the steps of an old church, letting the rough marble

Force friction with my feet, letting time enter my body through osmosis,

Letting the ancient be modern

A glance to the left reveals my bus, leaping from stop to stop, lurching forward and forward, racing to go nowhere but in loops and circles of the city

A glance to the right frames my apartment building, row upon row of indistinction.

Functional, utilitarian, forgettable.

I fondle the change in my pocket, nine coins for fare, counting them between my fingers in groups of three, three groups of three, three.

My bag, barren aside from forgotten letters needing postage, is strapped patiently by my side. There is no need to carry it with me; it offers security, as if an assault would be thwarted by its thin leather.

I stare down the wide avenue at 5:00 in the morning in this deserted, restless city and imagine in six months my presence won’t even register a footprint, a pause in conversation, an afterthought. Six months from now, I am the circular blowing in pointless circles down the windy sidewalk.

Six years from now, this road will be different, the pavement will be different, the rough marble I communed with will be replaced by something more efficient, more edifying, more transient.

Sixty years from now will be a thousand years from now.

Perhaps this coin should be thrown in the sewers, perhaps it would survive the test of time, perhaps it would be retrieved and speculated, discussed and conjured. Perhaps someone might say that this man wanted to be remembered, wanted to embrace the fleetingness of possession, of this life.

Perhaps he was a bum, they might say.

Perhaps they won’t be able to come to terms with time either, fingering my 100 won piece in their hand, the image fading.

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