I can only do so many things
Before my lungs give out.
So I’ll go for a walk to figure it all out
As best I can.
Although I do know how to look at flowers and the yellow silk of their petals,
The streetlamps, the pair of initials settled in the cement,
I could always learn to see them better.
My elementary school teachers taught me to type,
But sometimes I still make mistakes.
I have spelled my last name Hugg ten too many times,
Though I have yet to give ten too many hugs to anybody.
So today, I’m going to go outside and hug somebody.
Although I am thirty years old, I still find myself
Dancing like a scarecrow on a yellow road
When no one’s looking, and, every now and then,
When everyone is.
My arms are filled with atoms,
Peering around like periscopes as I write,
Seeking out some land where I can stand
And call out to the clouds of my brain for the next
I can spin a pen around the ball bearings of my fingertips –
It’s learning to use it that is agonizing.
I can picture your hands, your face,
As you read this,
For you, too, can only do so many things.
And as I wonder where you are from and what has brought us together in this moment,
I try to discover what is stopping us.
For though we can only do so many things,
There are so many things that only we can do.
So unravel the things you can do. Unfold them and rub them against
The edges of the table to iron out their creases,
Read the crisp handwriting of the notes that have been written
To you. Take notes on your forearms to remind yourself
Of that tree you climbed when you were young.
Perch yourself on the curb of a storefront and eat your lunch with both hands
Like a toddler waiting for his birthday to come.
Let the static shock of a plastic slide send you straight back to your childhood.
Buy a candy bar on the impulse shelves of the checkout counter
And eat the entire thing on the way home.
And I’ll set up the chess board for another round
Against my father, the man who taught me everything I needed to know
So this evening, when the night sky swims into view,
Before I sleep like a puddle of rain,
I will know I have done all that I can do
And so have you
And maybe we’ll meet for ice cream before our lungs give out.