Don’t Be Flip

when you drop   
   your mate at   
      the dock or   

your children   
   at school. Don’t   
      be cool. Don’t   

be coy. Or if   
   you do, don’t   
      assume it’s   

okay to act   
   that way. For   
      today may   

be your last   
   chance at   
      joy before it   

flashes away   
   like a tin   
      toy in one of   

those shooting   
   galleries in   
      midways: those   

ducks that seem   
   to paddle a   
      stream that’s   

not a stream   
   but a rotating   
      axle,   

toothed for   
   disappearance   
      & reappearance,   

a spit   
   without point   
      or flame,   

along which   
   randomly clucks   
      the whole game.