Well Then...TGIF


by Ellen Bass

Bad things are going to happen.
Your tomatoes will grow a fungus
and your cat will get run over.
Someone will leave the bag with the ice cream
melting in the car and throw
your blue cashmere sweater in the drier.
Your husband will sleep
with a girl your daughter's age, her breasts spilling
out of her blouse. Or your wife
will remember she's a lesbian
and leave you for the woman next door. The other cat—
the one you never really liked—will contract a disease
that requires you to pry open its feverish mouth
every four hours, for a month.
Your parents will die.
No matter how many vitamins you take,
how much Pilates, you'll lose your keys,
your hair and your memory. If your daughter
doesn't plug her heart
into every live socket she passes,
you'll come home to find your son has emptied
your refrigerator, dragged it to the curb,
and called the used appliance store for a pick up—drug money.
There's a Buddhist story of a woman chased by a tiger.
When she comes to a cliff, she sees a sturdy vine
and climbs halfway down. But there's also a tiger below.
And two mice—one white, one black—scurry out
and begin to gnaw at the vine. At this point
she notices a wild strawberry growing from a crevice.
She looks up, down, at the mice.
Then she eats the strawberry.
So here's the view, the breeze, the pulse
in your throat. Your wallet will be stolen, you'll get fat,
slip on the bathroom tiles of a foreign hotel
and crack your hip. You'll be lonely.
Oh taste how sweet and tart
the red juice is, how the tiny seeds
crunch between your teeth.


  1. Whoa. I'm walking away with... Enjoy the finer things in life before an anvil falls on your head? That's the most positive thing I can get out of this. Although it is well written.

  2. This is my kinda poetry!

    We should all grab that strawberry!

    A more modern, straight-shooting version of Stop and smell the roses.

  3. Will never look at strawberries in quite the same way again...

  4. Thanks for sharing this article... Like it!
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  5. What the hell? I think I'll go have that last scoop of Breyer's peach ice cream I've been avoiding.

    Life's short.

  6. Love it. No choice but to have a good weekend now...

  7. Exactly!! :>)
    Just the thing for those "glass half-empty" kind of days.

  8. WOW!
    and I am getting ready for the 35th High School reunion in a few hours.....so what you're sayin' is......Don't sweat the small stuff.....smiles?

  9. Absolutely the truest words. There is always something to be thankful for in the midst of it all.


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