(Christmas Day/2003, after seeing The Triplets of Belleville)
Fueled by panettone, high on French cartoon grandma energy
we bend low into the wind and head home
to more cheese, bread and doggy kisses....
and find ourselves passing a wheelchair
bound by massive chains to a playground fence.
The mind reels. Gangland victm? S & M routine?
All over Manhattan are bicycles so chained, to fences, poles, tree guards-
but a wheelchair? Abandoned? With such a chain?
No, awaiting someone’s return, for sure.
Will he/she walk to it? Resume a panhandling scam?
Cut the chains and pawn it?
By now we are past the vacant lots, passing Starbucks, The Gap,
the known civilized world collapsing on us like slush around a wet boot.
We drown in dreams of pending comfort. We inhale familar safety.
We reject the cold chain-linked world.
We hurry home
to more blueberry tea cake
to Charlie Rose
and those custom-shirted experts telling us how safe we are
how safe we think we are.