Why did you choose to smile

at the very moment the cat came crying for dinner

and the couple across the street

were hanging out Christmas lights

on an early November afternoon

and the woman laughed heartily, chokingly, at

her slender husband’s cavorting, his homely

cartwheels, and he said something rude and funny

I couldn’t quite make out as a yellow 1989

Corolla came bumping down the street

and a late autumn maple at just that instant

flung her leaves downward onto the sidewalk

and a wind rustled lavender stalks

in our impermanent backyard garden, just so,

as somebody turned on a radio for the Ohio State

football game, and I caught the second half of

a broadcast syllable in the quiet afternoon,

and tell me then, why, at that precise moment,

did you choose to smile?