Nancy Lewis • Equation

There's just so much
but people don't realize. It's finite.
I mean, once you use it all
then what? Up? It's like
this: you can't hold it--
the heat tempers ingots
and there's no way
to put it by.
It glances like sunlight
off waves with impunity--and we,
always turning
the other cheek,
a cold eye,
to the offer--the promise--
some would say the tease.
But why the blase reaction? Why
the nonchalant glance
over the shoulder, when
its universality, its efficacy,
are well-documented. Historically,
I mean, you can cite a long list
of beneficiaries. You can't
expect it to come
at your beck and call,
yet, so many do, passing it by
on a park bench, averting the eye
as if it were a matter of, say,
money or something equally delicate. You
could pray but miracles
are so rare these days. The less
used, the more frail
or hidden. The more its lack
is remarked upon in official circles
the less likely are the afficionados
to hold rallies, pep talks, crying out
over its seeming absence
from our brief lives. Many walk
the world's beaches hoping the purposeful
rhythm will inculcate or the foam--
like the hem
of a bride's dress shushing
down the aisle--will rush them to celebration.
But, no. There is no osmotic process for this.
One is born with an allotment--
a dowry--which must be spent,
and it does not matter whether budgeted
or in one fell swoop. Like a wave
frozen in time, poised
interminably, ready to utter
the global lullaby. Deep probes have yielded
no more than this. It comes down to math,
in the end: How much sunlight
equals my feet walking
the three steps that separate us
from eternity?