Nobody saw the stick figure
slip off the page and run away.
We were all too busy offering opinions
about each other’s opinions, and who
would miss a stick figure anyway?
Even still, some may wake tonight
with a strange lonesome feeling.
They’ll dismiss it at first, and yet
find it difficult to go back to sleep.
Standing by their beds, nearly invisible,
the stick figure will be watching,
waiting for an opportunity.
When eyelids drop and soft rhythmic snores
fill the room with their ambient harmonies,
the stick figure will wave its skinny arms
as if conducting a symphonic orchestra.
Freed from the confines of any limiting page,
this emboldened character will nevertheless
refrain from interfering in the internal affairs
of other powers and principalities,
and so should we.
Meddling only complicates things,
despite any so-called good intentions.
By keeping our opinions to ourselves,
we can contribute to the collective welfare
by lowering the noise pollution factor.
There’s something to be said for silence,
but let’s say it quietly!
The stick figure understands, since stick figures
only speak in white word bubbles anyway —
soft little clouds hanging close to their heads
that convey brief and concise exclamations.
They are like little Hemingways in that respect,
saying just enough to make a point, but not
endlessly rambling in run-on sentences.
Just so, where is this poem going?
Even as we ponder that, the stick figure
may climb back up onto the page,
and it will appear as if nothing
has changed at all.
Still, we might have one of those moments
when we routinely blink our eyes, and between
the eyelids closing and opening, the whole universe
is somehow different, though in what way, who can say?
The unadulterated eloquence of that elusive not knowing
can bring a secret smile to any stick figure’s lips, even as
we scroll down the pages of the life we’ve yet to live.