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

and smiles.


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.


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