It’s cold again. The ink in my pen
has frozen. I’ll need to write
the rest of this in blood.
Open my wrist with a fist
full of dead pens.
If sadness has a color
it would be the color of the universe,
which is the color of ink
just as the pen is about to run out. Faded,
meaningless words have no purpose,
and these days most words
mean anything anyone wants,
which means they mean nothing at all.
Mean is the average of things,
so maybe they mean something
half the time, except the mean words,
which always ink blot their mark.
From this corner of forever
I’m remembering Mrs. Jaroslavo
and how I didn’t help her cross the street.
She told me to leave her alone. I did.
She held up traffic all on her own
and was fine doing so. If she were here now
I’d tell her that I refuse to jiggle my pen on the page
waiting for the last few words to spill out
while the traffic in my brain runs stop signs.
All the averages, the means and meanings
in the news these days have left me spinning.
Various ways of thinking about the universe.
Crossing points on a busy street.
Criss-cross crisis points. One strand of values slams
cold and wet into another.
The universe must have a color
if we could step far enough away
to see it and what it all means.
Even in the chaos we make for ourselves
as we try to find meaning in our lives,
the wind will blow through at some point
and make our bones chime like little bells.

Rodger LeGrand is a Pushcart nominated poet and the author of several collections of poetry, including Studies for a Self-Portrait (Big Table 2019). His poems have appeared in many literary journals. He has taught at MIT and Penn. Currently he designs humanitarian education courses with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.