The Difference between Swimming and Drowning

is the moment when you order an iced coffee
at a restaurant that doesn’t carry any
almond milk and you know full
well you care about this far
more than you’re supposed to, because
for one thing: Syria, and because for another the frantic
cooing of the neighbor’s parrots the night before that kept you up
until five in the morning like the soundtrack of some panicky premonition,
a pattern of plumage filtering in through the clouds and the sky, form-
ing a friendly reminder that all love is love in the dark, that insomnia
will transform you for so precarious an eternity that even your pride gives way
and your prophetic heart turns to rubble—so that each branch of this pine tree
resembles the tired arm of a retired acrobat, who is sad and stiff
and tired of waiting for someone to clutch at night
to sleep in her once flexible embrace.

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