© 2012 Lisa Shatzsky
Suppose on a Monday afternoon
brewing traffic and deadlines, the elevator
gets stuck between the fourth and fifth floors
and you stand with strangers in a space
smaller than any room in your house.
The man in front of you shifts back
and forth looking at his watch and the boy
beside you wears only purple and a mohawk haircut
with a guitar on his back. Next to him a woman
stands on duty in a stiff blue dress buttoned high
carrying a bag of oranges imported from Spain.
Suppose this was all there was for the next two hours.
Suppose the shifting man now faces you, his eyes
far away oceans you might have seen somewhere.
Suppose the mohawk boy spits on the ground
and can't stop saying fuck. Suppose the woman on duty
unbuttons her collar and few oranges spill out
gushing the room bright and bold.
Suppose you find an unfinished poem
in your backpack, the one you would never share
except for now, a poem about someone you thought
you loved and never told and now it's too late.
And the man with the ocean eyes says it makes him
sad and pulls out a harmonica to offer his heart
and the boy stops saying fuck and tunes the guitar
and everyone watches his fingers coaxing the strings
their glory, a glory so tender the woman takes off
her jacket and says it's hot in here and you stumble
through the unfinished poem telling them
everything you meant to tell someone else
and the harmonica undresses the words
and the boy melts the guitar and the woman
hums and murmurs something about yes, yes,
I know that song and the elevator reveals
itself for what it really is: an abandoned hermitage
found again or a snatched up moment in paradise
or the one small thing we felt
brave enough to do that day
and no one wants to be rescued,
not yet, not yet...