Happiness

Yesterday it appeared to me in the form of two purple
elastic bands round a bunch of asparagus, which was
a very small happiness, a garden variety, nothing like
the hulking conversation crosslegged on a bed we had 
ten years ago, or when I saw it as a thin space in a mouth 
that was open slightly listening to a friend pinning them 
with an almost-cruel accuracy; the sense of being known 
making a space in their mouth that was happiness.
There was the happiness of my mother as we sat on 
a London bus, her having travelled alone to visit her son, 
and she seemed more present which might have been 
the luggage I was carrying for her that weighed heavy 
as her happiness, or was her happiness. It is rare you see 
a happiness so nut-like as that which we permit my 
father to pass around when he is talking sentimentally, 
embarrassing us all. And of course, the goofy ten gallon 
hats of happiness that children plant on us everytime 
they impersonate knowledge. Or when I am standing on 
a step breathing it in and out, staying death and the deadness 
that comes after dying, sighing like a song about it. Or
privately with you, when we’re watching television and 
everyone else can be depressed as rotten logs for all we care, 
because various and by degrees as it is, we know happiness 
because it is not always usual, and does not wait to leave.


first published in The Moth, © Jack Underwood 2015, used by permission of the author

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