The New Experience

I was ready for a new experience.
All the old ones had burned out.
 
They lay in little ashy heaps along the roadside
And blew in drifts across the fairgrounds and fields.
 
From a distance some appeared to be smoldering
But when I approached with my hat in my hands
 
They let out small puffs of smoke and expired.
Through the windows of houses I saw lives lit up
 
With the otherworldly glow of TV
And these were smoking a little bit too.
 
I flew to Rome. I flew to Greece.
I sat on a rock in the shade of the Acropolis
 
And conjured dusky columns in the clouds.
I watched waves lap the crumbling coast.
 
I heard wind strip the woods.
I saw the last living snow leopard
 
Pacing in the dirt. Experience taught me
That nothing worth doing is worth doing
 
For the sake of experience alone.
I bit into an apple that tasted sweetly of time.
 
The sun came out. It was the old sun
With only a few billion years left to shine.

Suzanne Buffam, "The New Experience" from The Irrationalist. Copyright © 2010 by Suzanne Buffam.  Reprinted by permission of Canarium Books.
Source: The Irrationalist (Canarium Books, 2010)
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