What will you do with this one wild life of yours? the poet asked.
Not spend one second of it standing in line to buy a Powerball ticket, the old woman replied.
But what if you won, what would you do with it? the novice asked.
Why? Did you buy a ticket?
No, the novice rued.
Well, what would you do, if you had won? the old woman inquired. While money didn’t interest her, the imaginings always had.
Go to Hawaii, said he.
Shop, said she. Where is the largest mall?
In Canada, another chimed in. I’ve been.
Shop? Really? the old woman sighed. What would you find at the world’s largest mall that you couldn’t find up the road at your local one?
So you wouldn’t want to be rich?
No, not really. It rarely turns out well for these lotto winners, you know.
Why is that?
Because the people who win are often people who never had money, don’t know how to manage money and who, more often than not, end up losing it all.
Some even get killed over those tickets, added he.
Yep, that’s happened, too. When you become rich you have to deal with accountants and lawyers and financial people. They take up the space of your life. I don’t want to spend my life with accountants and financial people talking about money, or talking with lawyers about getting sued, or suing.
What do you want in life, then, if not to be rich? the novice repeats the poet’s question.
To live it meaningfully.
Yes. That’s it, they nodded in agreement.
But, how does one go about doing that, exactly?
Avoid the lines as best you can, the old woman said. Very little good has ever come to those who stand in lines.
Karen Spears Zacharias is author of Burdy (Mercer University Press). Karen loves the poetry of Mary Oliver. Doesn’t everyone?