I am digging a hole
and wearing my Sunday best.
I am digging a deeper hole
and have given my earthly possessions away.
I am hoping to strike not treasure but time,
for I desperately need to do some thinking.
But I am never quite sure
if the shovel is striking time or not.
It might be like striking a clock
or a clock striking itself
or a clock striking time
or rather one of time’s hours.
My shovel strikes the occasional rock
which pleases me,
infinity in all the local folklore
depicted as littered with rocks.
My wife throws a rock at my head,
for she knows that I’m a man
of infinite potential
but a tragic passion for digging.
She gathers the children around,
and soon the neighbors are peeking
over our shoulders.
Soon she is begging me to stop
as the curious crowd starts singing
“Stairway to Heaven,” holding hands,
swaying, circling around me
and calling their nearest neighbors
on their cell phones to come join in.
Though I promise my wife that I’m not digging
my grave but my secret laboratory,
the widows offer her handkerchiefs.
A handsome younger warrior offers my sons
sticky, lint-covered Tic Tacs
from his pocket and watches
to see if my wife notices his kindness.
The impromptu serenade starts to fall apart
as one of my neighbors sings,
just a bit too loudly
and a bit too beautifully,
“If there’s a hedgehog in your bedroll,
don’t be alarmed now,”
and a newer voice to the chorus
insists that the correct lyric is,
“If there is headroom in your Rolex
don’t be alarmed now.”
Fist fights break out over the words.
My children start to cry.
It’s getting harder and harder
to find a place to think in this town.