graduation (published Negative Capability, 1995)
a thing nearly forgotten:
two birds sat perched upon a wire.
i asked you which you thought would leave first.
you answered, “the right one.”
i asked you how you knew for certain
and you answered that wisdom comes
from watching and waiting.
so we watched and waited.
soon i grew tired of watching the unmoving birds
sitting on the wire.
i told you i no longer cared.
you called me “wise one” for the first time.
puzzled, i asked you why.
“it does not matter which leaves first.
both will eventually depart and so
will share in the doing.
when you stopped caring about
the order of things
your answer found itself.”
when i looked up,
the birds were gone.