The New Experience

I was ready for a new experience.

All the old ones had burned out.

 

They lay in little ashy heaps along the roadside

And blew in drifts across the fairgrounds and fields.

 

From a distance some appeared to be smouldering

But when I approached with my hat in my hands

 

They let out small puffs of smoke and expired.

Through the windows of houses I saw lives lit up

 

With the otherworldly glow of TV

And these were smoking a little bit too.

 

I flew to Rome. I flew to Greece.

I sat on a rock in the shade of the Acropolis

 

And conjured dusky columns in the clouds.

I watched waves lap the crumbling coast.

 

I heard wind strip the woods.

I saw the last living snow leopard

 

Pacing in the dirt. Experience taught me

That nothing worth doing is worth doing

 

For the sake of experience alone.

I bit into an apple that tasted sweetly of time.

 

The sun came out. It was the old sun

With only a few billion years left to shine.

Suzanne Buffam, “The New Experience” from The Irrationalist. Copyright © 2010 by Suzanne Buffam. Reprinted by permission of House of Anansi Press.

Source: The Irrationalist (House of Anansi Press, 2010).