After the failure,

I go to the park

and walk down the familiar path

to the old bench

where I've sat many times before

but never alone

until now.

I sit on the splintering wood

and stick the box

that I've been gripping

with white-knuckle tightness

into the pocket

of my faded Levi's.

It sits heavily against my leg.

I stare across the courtyard,

beyond the silent fountain

and the dimly glowing streetlamps

to the trees across the way

where loving couples

weave their way around the trunks,

holding hands

and whispering to each other.

I reach into my pocket

and pull the box out again.

I caress the red felt,

thinking about how this box

had contained so much promise

just a couple of hours before

and is now

just another reminder

of another failure.

I stand up,

stretch,

and put the box

back in the pocket.

When I get home,

it'll go on the shelf,

where it'll wait

for another opportunity

to shine again.

Who will it be?

The girl next door?

The woman who works

at the corner drugstore?

Some mystery lady

who still waits in the wings,

waiting for her cue to

enter my life?

It doesn't really matter,

I suppose.

Whatever's in store for me,

It'll be what's it's meant to be.

The thing to do now

is pick up the pieces

and wait

for another chance.

I come to the edge

of the park.

I step off the worn cobblestones

of the park walkways

and onto the smooth cement

of the city sidewalks.

I turn my face

to the pale moonlight

and let it bathe my features

in its milky glow.

I walk down the sidewalk,

toward the moon's glow

and the promises

that lie within tomorrow

and the next day

and the next week.

Promises, chances

to get better

at this test

that's called life.