M.J. Iuppa

When the Unexpected Fails You

Last night, another unexpected storm—puddles everywhere—next morning, utterly pink.
The cool lake air rips through the poplar trees and everything sways— even you, looking 
out the kitchen window, with steaming coffee mug in hand, watching red-wing blackbirds 
spinning upside down on the suet feeders until a downy woodpecker or cardinal or nuthatch 
taps their turn—each of them greedy to eat their fill before the next— a dance that’s reckless 
as it is orderly.  So many wings, beaks, bird chirps in constant flutter— one blink, and they’re
The feeders swing to a stop.  The sun rises into the blue. No longer the luxury of an early
morning; something makes you feel sorry for yourself. You just want to stay put. You don’t 
want to take all the small steps that make up a day. You’re sick of repeating yourself. How often
have you said, Good Morning, without thinking twice? 
What exactly is good? This is a loaded question.  Perhaps, the one question that no one should 
ask, especially if you don’t want to hear an answer that implies it’s about time.  I bought 
groceries. Good. I found a new job. Good.  I met someone new. Good.  I’m leaving. Good.
Whatever makes you happy is a bit of a dare.  Most of us are not happy. Most of us are full of 
anxiety that is weirdly contagious. You remember what your friend said long ago about her 
anxiety while living in Alaska’s upside-down time. Her Eskimo neighbors listened to her 
constant worry, then said quite matter-of-factly: Who giva a shit?  The answer came as a 
particular surprise: no one.
The unexpected is a curse, followed by a blessing. It’s a relief, like a break in weather, like 
morning’s reprieve— a temporary stay, that’s meant to be a new direction: take it or leave it.

M.J. Iuppa’s fourth poetry collection is This Thirst (Kelsay Books, 2017). For the past 33 years, she has lived on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Check out her blog: mjiuppa.blogspot.com for her musings on writing, sustainability & life’s stew.
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