Meditation with Good Posture and Swine Flu

By Jeff Gundy

Were we ever among the chosen? Did we seize on this place

too late, or too soon? Is all this temperate sunshine

a blessing or a threat? We all say aye when prompted, then

we mostly say nothing for a while except for the speaker,

then we say aye again. Somewhere sailboats are gleaming

in a harbor, especially beautiful if somebody else

is paying the marina fees. We hope things are going well,

says the speaker. If I had me a shotgun, I’d blow you

straight to hell. No, no. That’s just a song. I haven’t thought

about blowing anyone to hell or anywhere else all day,

though I own lots of stuff that could be lethal in the right hands.

But the real question is whether we agreed to agree, or not.

Some of us find it natural to scowl at students who chat,

doze, or text when we expect good posture and deportment.

I thought I heard my name, but it was just my first name.

Beyond borders, said my friend Paul, we hope for conversation,

contentious and otherwise. If I were Phil, I’d call myself

Phill too. The auditors have arrived by bus, Jim says,

but they will leave by sunset. Eric didn’t bring his swine flu

file but will talk for a while anyway. Go home until

the fever breaks. Cough into your arm. Use the hand sanitizer.

The shots will be free, which means somebody will pay.

Jeff Gundy’s fourth prose book, Songs from an Empty Cage (Cascadia Publishing), was released in 2013, and Somewhere Near Defiance, his sixth book of poems, is just out from Anhinga. Other recent work is in The Sun, St. Katherine’s Review, Shenandoah, Rhubarb, and Georgia Review. A former Fulbright lecturer at the University of Salzburg, he teaches at Bluffton University in Ohio.