West Side Rag Poetry Corner: ‘Lives in Wait’

The Roscoe Diner. Photograph by Kenneth C. Zirkel via wikimedia commons.

“I am an American who lives in Rome and speaks a lot of languages, with which I supervise foreign versions of American films. I also come to the UWS about four or five times a non-pandemic year and live at 96th and Broadway. This is a birthday present to my granddaughter, whose initials are S.E.D. and who applied to 26 colleges.”

Lives in Wait
By Jeff Davidson

On this 18th anniversary of your getting a foothold on the world
I am magnetized by the vast number of potential lives lying in wait for you
Scattered, sprinkled, flung out across the country
In a random pattern of kaleidoscopic venues
Only one of which will be the stage set of your quadrennial future.
I turn the crank and my nickelodeon images of you roll by:
You are lolling on 26 verdant lawns in front of 26 towered and brimming libraries
With 26 different clusters of feasible friends and putative partners
Outlining 26 tentative term papers in 26 unchosen realms of human endeavor.
You and your color-in-the-blank companions are trying to decide
Whether to spend the evening in a little Iowa town’s single movie theater….
No wait, you and Who are walking down Broadway from the campus
For a bagel and cream cheese at the Metro Diner….
Cut to S.E.D. and X and Y and Z looking out the warm dorm window
Watching the gentle snow falling on New England evergreens.
Or Something. Somewhere. Somebodies.
Pick a college, any college.
And all those other lives will go unlived.

And then I thought: the existence of my lovely, brainy, one-of-a-kind granddaughter is the direct result of Yale’s decision to wait list me.

happy B/ love J

ART | 7 comments | permalink
    1. Wijmlet says:


    2. Tony says:


    3. Michael M says:


    4. Jim Tetro says:

      Wonderful commentary in that life itself is but a series of moments. One after the other and then one after the other and on. Ain’t it grand!!

    5. Howard Blank says:

      Your words are beautiful birthday gift for S.E.D. . She will always have the living connection to her Grandpa and his belief in her future.
      She will prove unique having had you as a role model .Whatever path she chooses you have voiced your
      future approval and appreciation of the choices she makes.


    6. susan says:

      I have a granddaughter starting college next year too, in her case after a gap year.
      I wish I could write something half as wonderful for her as you have done for S.E.D. It’s clear where some of her brains come from!

    7. Christopher Davidson says:

      From SED’s dad and J’s son- Lovely tribute to the confusion and hope of being young