David Divides His Time
David Graham does not divide his time
between Nantucket and Chicago,
or between his childhood farm
and his condo on Maui or Oahu.
Nevertheless, he divides his time
between his office computer
and his home machine, sometimes
sending email from one to the other.
He divides his time between boyhood
and a generalized woozy fog,
between known and unknown,
between lakewater and a modest mountain
rising into Adirondack clouds.
David divides his time ruthlessly,
recklessly, eagerly, like a dog on a scent,
and like the spaniel in his field
when the scent dwindles to nothing.
He often divides his time badly,
always with some left over—
too small a portion to use,
too great to just toss away.
David cannot remember a time
indivisible, though he has a photo
of himself wearing just a diaper
and stretched out on a white towel
in the back yard of a house
he cannot remember. He has been told
the address, and that he is the baby.
Sometimes David wishes
to divide his time more ways,
like a chess master circling the room,
unsatisfied with one, two, three
victories, moving on, going for the record.
Other times, he wishes his time
could grow even more singular,
contracting to a mug of fresh coffee
at the kitchen table, radio playing Bach,
and no interruptions the entire morning.
Mostly he divides his time without
realizing. He took a shortcut home
one day in his thirty fourth year,
and arrived at age fifty six somehow
on the same tank of gas. Beard gray
and no clear map in his head.
David divides his time between
the San Francisco of memory
and the London of imagination,
the Walden Pond without bottom
and the marriage bed on which
he's floated for decades now
upon the darkest water.
But when the alarm goes off
he's sitting in traffic, dividing
his time between left turn and
no turn at all. Or maybe not.
His mind divides on the question.
—David Graham, Ripon, WI