Footnote to a New Year’s Resolution, by Michael Brandt

I cannot write another’s story.
I cannot comprehend another’s life.
Even in the closest embrace
the space between my mind and any other 
is a landscape of traps and mirrors.

Only the deeds of another may I fairly assess.
Only the results may I accurately measure.

And yet lurks the impulse to impose — 
presuming every motive, every desire, every constraint;
drawing blueprints, taking the wheel,
ignoring the possibility that what is needed 
is simply 
a receptive ear, 
a sign of acknowledgement
a small splash of color on a gloomy day. 

Michael Brandt, Arena