I’m not human until I’ve had my coffee
or until I’ve paid my bills
or I’ve walked through the city
bumping every other commuter
on my way from here to there
and back again.
I’m not human until I’ve waited in line
only to argue with the woman
in animal print leotards and large hoop earrings
who cut the line because she is rushing,
as if I wasn’t.
I’m only human in the midst of a deadline,
and my phone is ringing
every thirty minutes,
a call from a client
wondering if I will submit on time.
I’m only human when I can’t sleep
worrying about the next day
and the next year
and the troubles in Syria and Turkey
and North Korea.
For when I’m sleeping,
I’m an angel.
When I’m at the beach,
away from the day-to-day,
I am brine.
For when I am with my family
for dinner, eating food
cooked by our own hands,
I am a brother and a son
and flesh made of laughing fits
When I am at the Sistine Chapel,
underneath the majestic brilliance
of the Creation of Adam,
terrorised and overwhelmed and humbled
by the sheer beauty of it,
I am ant
who only deigns to be human again.
And then, sometimes, I am stardust,
I am a river, and I am a flash of lighting.
I can be flecks of gold or a pearl.
I have been fire and wind and rain.
But most days, I am human,
except when I am not.