You unlace your boots and toss them
recklessly into a corner where they land
surprisingly upright, side-by-side,
as if you had set them there purposely,
neatly, exactly like that. What’s the odds?
you say, shaking your head in wonderment,
suspecting if you’d intended such an orderly outcome,
the miraculous boots would have collapsed in a predictable heap.
Or consider, for instance, my wife and I
one Sunday brunch in an empty roadside café.
Sit anywhere, says the waitress, Doesn’t matter.
It’s like the whole place belongs just to us,
until an after-church mix of suits and ties
and wives in fancy dress decides to gather extra chairs
around a table tight beside us. Our salads,
sumptuous and fresh, arrive in wide bowls, each
garnished with a plump banana pepper on top.
I’ll eat your pepper, my wife says, if you don’t want it.
Sure, I say, and fork it over. Well, here’s where
chance overrides our feeble powers of prognostication.
She bites the fat end and squirts
– from the skinny end –
a jet of green juice, which arcs upward and sidewise,
surreal and luminous, soaking the neck and bare shoulders
of the church-lady nearest us, who shudders
and gasps in utter disbelief and consternation.
It’s a big mess; a sort of bull’s-eye we couldn’t have hit
if we’d aimed. We offer to pay for the dress,
but she says no, no, and rises to compose herself
in the restroom. Leaving us stunned, staring
at that pepper, wondering if it had planned all this
in the first place, as if it might harbor motives of its own.