Ruth Bardon Choosing

You have to pick.
The line behind you is getting longer.
There is dust floating near the ceiling
And you wish for a pattern in it.
There are two sides to the door
And inside and outside are getting confused.

Years ago, there were high counters and above them
The adults conducted their business.
Years ago, there were posters hung
On the cloakrooms of classrooms
With tables and classifications.

Choose between sorrow and sorrow
Or sorrow and joy.
Choose blindly, wishing,
Or rationally, sniffing your fingers for hints,
Or wildly, needing relief.

Do you even remember what you chose?
They fade together, those two.
They emerge from the smoke like slippery fish.


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