Winter/Spring 2002

That Which Has Happened a Billion Times
And Will Happen a Billion Times Again

by Brian Doyle

The way that old men's suit pants bunch up at the knees
When they stand after kneeling in church.

The way some strands of hair work loose
From a woman's ponytail when she is working.

The way some children sleep with one hand open
And legs splayed like scissors.

The way a knee is knobby.
The way a face curves around a grin in middle age.

The way her feet are cold against his legs
As lovers curl against each other like spoons.

The way a mouth opens slightly when a man or woman
Falls asleep in a chair by the fire,

And the way they startle gently awake,
Their eyes wide with amazement.

The editor of Portland Magazine, Brian Doyle is the author most recently of Credo, a collection of essays, and his work appears in the Best American Essays 1998 and 1999 and Best Spiritual Writing 1999 and 2000.

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