Before It Dawns

by Eric Chaet

We don’t choose mother or father
or what preoccupies them or with whom they interact—
maybe brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles—or how;
where the water comes from, food
where & how the wastes flow;
we don’t design the shelter or language—
money’s a mystery
who has the right to commit violence, to imprison
who is saying what’s so, & who’s cleverly lying
or mistaken but confident they’re right;
whether all our cells & organs are healthy
if there are medicines for what ails us;
the plants & animals around us—
trees, grass, lilac, mushroom, raspberry, poppy, rose
cattle, hogs, fish, cats, dogs, birds, rodents
flying & crawling bugs, micro-organisms we can’t see
in foods, air, fluids, one another, ourselves;
the products of others—wheels, buttons, gasoline, honey
religion, war, instant coffee, law, lamps, saxophones.

We didn’t create the state or its history
or the other states or their histories
the Sahara, Mississippi, Alps, Pacific
or Earth or the other planets, moons, asteroids
comets, or the Sun, or other stars
Milky Way, or other blooming or decaying galaxies.

We have to be as healthy as possible
& thrive in the midst of all kinds
of opportunity, injustice, & misunderstanding
& useful & toxic traditions;
& before we know what we’re doing
we develop useful, & also toxic habits.

There’s a lot of work to do—
& some of the most useful work
others try to convince us is just fooling around
& some of what is really just wasting irreplaceable time!
others congratulate us for doing, give us prizes—
or we do in spite of others’ laughter, anger, indignation
persisting in it, proudly, for years, before it dawns on us!

///

Previously published in The Eternity (India).
Previously posted online @ Niederngasse (Switzerland).

///

cosmic being series
purpose series

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