Joy

(for Alvaro)

Joy spins and sways, somersaults and tumbles;
it zigzags, hops, bounces, careens, ricochets.
Watch Ronaldinho run with a football at his feet or
Kawasaki slash a single to the outfield.
Sometimes joy is barely noticeable, quiet -
watch a child release a red balloon.
Is red the colour of joy?
Is joy always round?
How unexpectedly it can strike.
Remember Chekhov’s story
about the clerk who never used an exclamation mark—
the punctuation of joy!
He routinely used all the other marks: periods, question marks, semi-
colons, colons, dashes, etc., but not the exclamation mark.
Finally, in frustration, he impulsively
seizes the chance and goes wild and prodigal with his new discovery.
Sometimes joy is loud and boisterous,
as when a man and a boy
enter a bookstore and the boy finds the book the man
has been hungrily looking for (Robin Kirkpatrick’s translation of
The Divine Comedy) and squeals in delight.

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