Poem: The Beauty of a Momentary Discomfort

The Beauty of a Momentary Discomfort

In the markets of Venice, snails writhe,
not merely fresh but alive, clambering
one over the others as if they know
their garlic and oil infused future.

Fish lay on the tables, tails whipping,
eyes open and aware. Shrimp, legs dancing
a jitterbug in wooden bins in the morning light.
It is all a bit disturbing and fascinating

to someone like you accustomed
to shrink-wrapped perfection, every thing you eat
packaged and perfect, safely dead and cleaned,
no momentary discomfort in the actual act of dying.

Ah, but the taste that night! as you sip your white wine
and dine on scallops freshly pried from their shells,
the snails sauteed. As if the rawness itself
drew created a whole new perfection.

This is what you have learned in your years
of allowing strangers into your life. Broken strangers.
The dying. The inconsolable. They are less pretty,
none destined to be a perfect Instagram vision.

They die. They struggle.
They flail like snails in the market, determined to live
when the world around them prefers shrink wrapped perfection.
They are uncomfortable to be around

and yet, strangely beautiful, Real. Raw.
The few who survive are always scarred.
And yet, you feel a strange allure, somehow made more
in their brief flicker of survival.

About this poem

I had no idea where this one would go when I began. Feeling flat, I simply took a photograph, yes of snails in the Thursday marketplace in Venice, and wrote to it.

One of the things that the woman I love has given to me is a higher tolerance for being uncomfortable. Another thing she has done is increase my compassion.

Other than that, you are on your own to find meaning in this one.

Tom

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