Too Seriously

By Andrew R. Duckworth

I was taking life
Too seriously
In the summer of 2006
when I stepped
Off the plane
In Fiumicino.
I had just graduated high school
Where I took life too seriously.
I may have been wining
All the way through Italy,
But I was taking
Life too seriously-
Barely cracking a smile,
Keeping myself
From the occasional laugh
Because I didn’t like
The way my teeth showed.

And then Venezia
At the Grand Canal,
Trying to keep my balance
While planting a foot
In a gondola,
Massive waves
Off of cruise liners
Tipping us this way and that
And the gondolier’s eyes
Hidden behind dark shades.
He saw me cautiously sit,
My eyes darting
Left and right-
Afraid of dumping
Into the water.

And then we pushed
Away from the dock,
Away from the near
Certainty of a flat surface.
And I gripped onto the side
So hard my fingertips
Might have made impressions.
As I looked at the gondolier,
I noticed a mischievous grin
As he pretended as though
The boat would tip.
Ha-ha, so funny.
The gondolier laughed,
And, After a moment,
So did I,
Because life is too short
To be so serious.

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