AND WANDER AND WERE
By Josh Gottlieb-Miller
Univ. of Houston, PhD Creative Writing 2021
Dan saw a car skid out on the other side
of the highway—hit some black ice,
the barrier—engulf itself in flames. He had
a kind of existential crisis
about not being able to stop and help.
About not stopping and helping.
A kind of existential crisis?
I want to know which kind. Snow
dancing in wind off the frozen lake,
shadow calligraphy, spring supposedly
on its way. Fish wait beneath the surface
of the water. I’d secure my oxygen mask
first, before I’d help the person
next to me, I say, but that’s
the right thing to do. I thought what I’d said
would get through. I need help now,
Dan says. Kids wander further
onto the water. Dan believes in ghosts
because he hasn’t been haunted by one.
What if it was you, Dan says,
sitting next to me on the plane,
and I secured my oxygen mask first?
I want to hold his hand with my brain.
But after that, I say, then you’d help me.
Question: How does Josh Gottlieb-Miller’s poem conjure thoughts and desires of connecting with people during this challenging time?