Lithuanian Proverb

When you drop a glass of wine in Lithuania
or bump a porcelain knickknack, shattering it,
they say Kamatka lapotcha, coka pooya schmoo.
I don’t remember the actual phrase at all,
but the meaning is to the effect that the earth—
reality—shifted around you, and you didn’t
so naturally, you didn’t keep up; and it’s not
wholly your fault that the teapot or peanut dish
didn’t align with you and only exists in shards
You and the world knock like misaligned gears.
The machine will right itself somehow—or
explode, destroying everything and leaving
Kidding! Things hardly ever fly hysterically apart
that way. You might fall against an aquarium,
killing ten red fish, then slip on one and bang
with the magistrate you were trying to petition.
A different saying applies in that case to the effect
that earth has shaken you like a sled dog shakes
into its harness, which makes it chafe, raising
a row of red sores under her haunch; and you
have to know she mustn’t run with tackle but
her slow healing and let her rest, or else
she could lose a leg. Now, if for reasons
of your own—whatever—you really need to
the truth, I made up the parts about the dog,
the aquarium and even knowing anything
about Lithuania, land of my ancestors—but
the part about how earth can shake you off.
I know I need this rest and that this
here invention salves a string of sore

Daniel Ari’s forthcoming book, One Way To Ask from Zoetic Press pairs poems in an original form called queron with art by 65 different artists. In addition to writing, publishing, performing and teaching poetry, Daniel works as a professional copywriter, He has recently placed work in Poet’s Market (2014, 2015, 2016), Writer’s Digest, carte blanche, Rio Grande Review, McSweeney’s, and many other print and online venues. He leads creative writing sessions monthly at his home in Richmond, CA and blogs sporadically at fightswithpoems.blogspot.com