The world is a place that can make you want to cry.
You can look across the street & see a man combing his hair & it can make you want to cry.
Because he is not good looking in any way; he’s balding and kind of fat & slope-shouldered & the comb is not going to change his untucked navy T-shirt or his baggy black pants.
Come to notice, it didn’t do much for his hair, either.
You don’t know if you want to cry because of the way he stands there & watches pretty girls go by, the comb a symbol of hope. Or if you want to cry because of these awful thoughts you are having, but you can’t help it: you are just so sad.
They found the first overdose this weekend. You sit in this bar with a beer between your two hands, wondering at the dedication of the others. If this death will make them stop or only pretend: to be more careful, to vow not to be that dead body.
You look across the street, wanting to cry before you even see: the man is combing his hair again.
“sadness” originally appeared in Power of Poem, published by Pittsburgh’s Home of the National Muse, 1999.