Day 5.

Days We Would Rather Know. 

There are days we would rather know

than these, as there is always, later, 

a wife we would rather have married 

than whom we did, in that severe nowness 

time pushed, imperfectly, to then. Whether, 

standing in the museum before Rembrandt’s “Juno,” 

we stand before beauty, or only before a consensus 

about beauty, is a question that makes all beauty 

suspect…and all marriages. Last night, 

leaves circled the base of the gingko as if 

the sun had shattered during the night 

into a million gold coins no one had the sense 

to claim. And now, there are days we would 

rather know than these, days when to stand 

before beauty and before “Juno” are, convincingly, 

the same, days when the shattered sunlight 

seeps through the trees and the women we marry 

stay interesting and beautiful both at once, 

and their men. And though there are days 

we would rather know than now, I am, 

at heart, a scared and simple man. So I tighten 

my arms around the woman I love, now 

and imperfectly, stand before “Juno” whispering 

beautiful beautiful until I believe it, and–

when I come home at night–I run out 

into the day’s pale dusk with my broom 

and my dustpan, sweeping the coins from the base

of the gingko, something to keep for a better tomorrow: 

days we would rather know that never come. 


-Michael Blumenthal 


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