All the worrier wants is love, like anyone else. But he won’t seize it for himself; he needs you to come to him, admiring the way he keeps the background safe for everyone.
He can’t—maybe you’re right, he won’t—descend the pole into the heart of the burning house, the hotspot between the sheets. But someone fastidious must man the radar, someone, unlike you, who is happy in the lukewarm broth between choices.
One part of him is forever holding his foot above its first step, waiting for the all-clear that can never come. Another part is waiting for you—he may move if you take his hand.
See how the fish go back and forth endlessly in their tank, from one side to the other and back and back again, along a line they forget. Boredom is a failure of the imagination to perceive reality, which is exciting. For instance, if you get very close to a tiny bug scampering across a stone wall, this is very exciting; you won’t be bored. The clouds are always changing shape—a cow, a bicycle wheel, and that one looks like a fork…it’s very exciting.
Or it’s a failure of reality to make room for the imagination: that may indeed be a stone wall, but it is made of trillions of imperceptible atoms only visible to the inner eye, which splinters everything into the parts of which all might, of which all must, be made.
Imagination is the failure of boredom to accept reality, which is matter-of-fact and available in the simplest sense of that word, meaning it is right here before you, go and touch it or don’t, it won’t change anything and you are being kept out anyway, locked in an imaginary bubble that only an imaginary needle can pop.
It is no surprise that you’re bored, given the above, and the above is no surprise, given that you are you, not that you are so different from anyone else.
Leaves are falling outside. There is no reason to count them—a number won’t aide or impede their falling, nor will it change your life.
Craig Morgan Teicher is the author, most recently, of To Keep Love Blurry (BOA, 2012) and the chapbook Ambivalence and Other Conundrums (Omnidawn, 2013).
You will find more poems here. You may contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.