“Some people come into this life and make an agreement
not to do their work this time around.”
— Ellen Lazares
God, fix my eyes on the stained pavement underfoot and keep them there. Let me remain a student of litter and dog shit, grayed and flattened wads of gum, cement cracks that I strain to navigate.
Don’t require me to lift my gaze skyward, contemplate the patterns of clouds, the trajectories of crows and their omens.
Allow me to remain earthbound, shuffling past the shuffling forms of my fellow travelers who remain unknown to me. Occasionally bumping shoulders, occasionally colliding, then careening away. Never meeting their eyes.
Don’t ask me to consider the implications of these unplanned impacts. Don’t ask me to feel the bruises sustained or inflicted. Don’t ask me to remember what we said, what we promised.
Allow those sounds to fade into white noise. Let me forget language itself; divorce it from meaning. Help me to speak, if at all, in vague gestures, involuntary muscular tics.
Don’t force me to awaken to cause and effect, to action and consequence. Don’t expect me to acknowledge mistakes or learn from them. Don’t make me read the book of my life, or quiz me on its content. I’ve seated myself in the back of the room; please don’t call on me.
Let me sleep, God. Let me skip this turn. Turn the sign on the doorknob to “Do Not Disturb.”