Sneak Attack

He was wearing a red cable knit sweater.
He limped. He was snow pale and sallow.

I didn’t know who he was. All I knew was
there were over a dozen free library carrels—

I was the only one there on a Monday afternoon—
and he chose the carrel closest to me.

I had chosen the corner.
I like a pretense of quiet and space.

The man smiled at me but didn’t hold my eyes,
then opened his Mac book two feet from mine.

I googled “women’s winter boots,” wondering as it loaded
if perhaps I could move without appearing too rude,

and a small text appeared in a pale purple box
in the bottom right corner of my screen.

“This moment, LOVE comes to rest.”
Really. This moment?

“Many beings in one being.”
Rumi? Is that you?

“In one wheat-grain, a thousand sheaf stacks.”
It is you. But,

“Inside the needle’s eye a turning night of stars.”
And in between the carrel walls, between North Face

and Keen, between my annoyance and me
a thousand silences unfolded and for a few moments

I slid into the quiet that’s been with me since before my birth.
Beyond mind. Beyond word. Beyond hymn.

*All lines in quotes are from “This Moment” by Rumi, translated into English by Coleman Barks, which appeared in Poetry Chaikhana, emailed on November 15, 2010

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