In a Hurry by Martin Willitts Jr.

In a Hurry

The lilies of the valley wanted me to notice them,
but I was in a hurry,
and I cannot recall what was so important
or why I was running frantically so late
my tires felt like grinding in quicksand,
seeing the same landscape for two hours.
But I was in a hurry,

and I did not notice the flowers blessing me,
until I was miles down the road,
hours from nowhere important,
only conscious of time, how it goes
forward like a treadmill. What do I know?
Was I certain the flowers waved?
I was stranded in time. Being in a big hurry
did not make my destination any closer,
and it felt too far to turn around
to see if what I thought I saw was true.

Maybe what I saw was a gathering of egrets,
nodding their heads about the rationale of God
giving them flight, and not to me. But I was late.
I can’t remember what time I needed to arrive,
And I don’t even remember now where I was going,
but I felt I’d never make it in time, my wheels spinning
like a roulette wheel. What were the chances of lilies?
Or egrets? Am I wrong about urgency,
or the time-space continuum, or why God made apples,
or why you can escape quicksand by laying back
but it feels contrary to logic? I forgot why I was rushing.
I have the nagging feeling I missed something.
I think I left whatever it was far behind my dust,
miles ago, eons ago, and there’s no going back.

by Martin Willitts Jr.


Editor’s Note: Repetition is used to great effect in this poem—heightening the sense of unease and worry felt by the speaker as he rushes past the things he knows he ought not to.

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