By Julia Markish


Listen! What does it all count for?

You keep craning your neck to spot

the giant scoreboard in the sky. Only

the delusional keep score, their

rulebooks marked by felt-tipped lies.


You count words, miles, hours, dollars,

but they don’t add up. They are sinking

bricks in your delicate pool. They stack

along its bottom, a useless mass,

slowly forcing your water over its edge.


You find dead pine needles, and hold them up

as yardsticks. They lie in mounds, and you root

for each as if for a prize, never once

glancing up to catch the rays of sun

streaming through the boughs.


You hold your breath, waiting for the waves

to pass, for the tightness to ease, for the score

to change. Your attention’s splinters cling

to surfaces like lint, their original tapestry

shredded and forgotten.


Listen: life’s true score murmurs past your

eardrums, a distant inner symphony. Precious

chords constantly announce some new

miracle: your breaths, your sighs, your

yawns, your cries – they are its thrum.


So what, if there are more like this? They

turn to face the wind like seagulls, a flock

of true believers in the scoreboard in the sky.

They preen and relish their sleek feathers,

Louboutin heels sinking deeper in the sand.


But the seeds the wind

carries only ever sprout in the soft

earth beyond the barren beach.

What are a few ruffled feathers

to live amongst the blooms?

Republished with permission. Featured Image Photo by Marnee Wohlfert on Unsplash