By George Bilgere

Featured Art: Madame François Buron by Jacques-Louis David

The slender, balding fellow
walking out of the yoga center
with his neatly rolled up yoga mat
and seraphic, post-yoga glow
probably thinks he is superior to me
as I clump down the sidewalk with my poor posture
and relatively limited spinal flexibility, my failure
to think deeply, if at all, about my breathing.

Which is fine. He’s entitled to his opinion.

However, what he doesn’t realize
is that I live on the same street as he does
and I happen to know, from walking past his house
on garbage day, that he makes no effort whatsoever
to recycle. Newspapers, bottles, plastic containers—
the things you’re supposed to put in the blue bag—
he just sticks in the white bag, along with the coffee grounds
and cantaloupe halves and the rest of the so-called “wet” trash.
Even beer cans are in there (a cheap, off-brand beer, I might add).

I guess saving the planet isn’t that important to him,
compared with mastering Down Dog or Up Dog or whatever.

So here he is feeling superior to me,
whereas in fact I am the more evolved being,
and I give him a glance of cool, skeptical appraisal
which I hope conveys this.

George Bilgere’s most recent book of poetry is The White Museum (Autumn House Press, 2010). His 2006 collection, Haywire, won the May Swenson Award in 2006. His poems have appeared recently in Shenandoah, River Styx, and the Garrison Keillor anthology, Good Poems, American Places. His poems are often heard on Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac and he was a featured guest last year on A Prairie Home Companion. His new book, Imperial, is forthcoming from the University of Pittsburgh Press.

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