Friday, April 22, 2022

Strange Opera by George Bilgere

A dark-haired woman on the third floor
of an apartment building I am walking past
in elegiac September
steps onto her balcony to water the hydrangeas.
And this routine of hers
is inflected somewhat today
by the fact that she looks down
and sees me, and I look up and see her,
and we share a faint nod and smile of acknowledgement.
Acknowledgement of what?
Well, possibly we’re acknowledging
the infinite mystery of our separate lives,
so similar here on Earth
but so enormous in their differences,
the separate spheres in which we dwell.
That, and the fact
that our two immense mysteries just happened
to pass very closely on this September day,
they very nearly brushed against each other,
softly and delicately, like amorous galaxies.
And for a moment, as if we were in a strange opera,
I want to sing an aria about this to her
as she stands on her balcony with her hydrangeas.
The beauty and the sadness.
And then I realize that, well,
actually, this is just what life is,
a stupendous ongoing index
of all the things that don’t get to happen
because of all the other things that do get to happen.
Which is terribly sad,
but if you really think about it,
you can’t very well go around singing arias
about the sadness of every unrealized possibility,
every unblossomed hydrangea of existence.
All you’d be doing is singing arias every five minutes.
You’d never get anything done.

by George Bilgere

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