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John & Mary

Posted 12-06-2011 at 23:25 by spero525

I first encountered this in an English class back in the day. It has remained one of my favorite humor pieces, and right now I'm looking for a little humor.

John & Mary
(by Stephen Dunn)

"John & Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who also had never met."
– from a freshman’s short story

They were like gazelles who occupied different
grassy plains, running in opposite directions
from different lions. They were like postal clerks
in different zip codes, with different vacation time,
their bosses adamant and clock-driven.
How could they get together?
They were like two people who couldn't get together.
John was a Sufi with a love of the dervish,
Mary of course a Christian with a curfew.
They were like two dolphins in the immensity
of the Atlantic, one playful,
the other stuck in a tuna net--
two absolutely different childhoods!
There was simply no hope for them.
They would never speak in person.
When they ran across that windswept field
toward each other, they were like two freight trains,
one having left Seattle at 6:36 p.m.
at an unknown speed, the other delayed
in Topeka for repairs.
The math indicated that they'd embrace
in another world, if at all, like parallel lines.
Or merely appear kindred and close, like stars.

~Spero
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