Thankful Thursday: Near Miss

It's Thankful Thursday.
Gratitude. Appreciation. Praise.
Please join me in a weekly pause
to appreciate people, places & things.

Sometimes I am thankful for the near miss — the check that doesn't bounce, the tree that falls inches from the house, the benign tumor, the car door ding instead of the side-sweeping crash. Crisis, big and small, averted.

This week a friend (for whom I am thankful) sent me a poem, with this perceptive note: I like the poem for many things, among them its reminder of the hair's breadth we always are from not-being.


Thanks for the tree

between me & a sniper's bullet.
I don't know what made the grass
sway seconds before the Viet Cong
raised his soundless rifle.
Some voice always followed,
telling me which foot
to put down first.
Thanks for deflecting the ricochet
against that anarchy of dusk.
I was back in San Francisco
wrapped up in a woman's wild colors,
causing some dark bird's love call
to be shattered by daylight
when my hands reached up
& pulled a branch away
from my face. Thanks
for the vague white flower
that pointed to the gleaming metal
reflecting how it is to be broken
like mist over the grass,
as we played some deadly
game for blind gods.
What made me spot the monarch
writing on a single thread
tied to the farmer's gate,
holding the day together
like an unfingered guitar string,
is beyond me. Maybe the hills
grew weary & leaned a little in the heat.
Again, thanks for the dud
hand grenade tossed at my feet
outside Chu Lai. I'm still
falling through its silence.
I don't know why the intrepid
sun touched the bayonet,
but I know that something
stood among those lost trees
and moved only when I moved.

Yusef Komunyakaa


What are you thankful for today?