People whose lives have been shapedby history—and it is always tragic—do not want to talk about it,would rather dance, give partieson thrift-shop china. You feelwonderful in their homes,two leaky rooms, neststhey stowed inside their heartson the road into exile.They know how to fix potato peelingsand apple cores so you smack your lips.The words start over againhold no terror for them.Obediently they riseand go with only a rucksackor tote bag. If they weep,it’s when you’re not looking.To tame their nightmares, they choosethe most dazzling occupations,swallow the flames in the sunset sky,jump through burning hoopsin their elegant tiger suits.Cover your eyes: there’s onewalking on a threadthirty feet above us—shivering points of lightleap across her body,and she works without a net.
Lisel Mueller, “Virtuosi” from Alive Together: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 1996 by Lisel Mueller.
Every day comes complete with 86400 seconds, each one a tiny opportunity to remake ourselves. We can start over again at any time, take the mismatched threads of our lives and weave them into something new. Survivors learn the hard way how everything can be lost in an instant. Jump at every opportunity to live a good life, savour it down to the last scrap. Why wait?