In Men We Trust
“A government of laws
and not of men." – John Adams
I trust that strangers approaching
on the sidewalk will walk past and not attack,
trust that drivers will stop at the red light
as I pass through on green.
I trust that the waitress has not spit on my pizza,
that the bridge’s steel girders aren’t rusted
and flaking away like dandruff.
I trust that the man reaching into his pocket
is not reaching for a gun, that nearby strangers
who might carry concealed guns have the same trust.
I trust that my lover is not cheating,
that my employer trusts me to continue in my job.
Friends trust that gluten-free noodles
are what they claim to be, trust that I remembered
not to add flour to the gravy.
I trust my neighbor to be careful with the ash
from her cigarette as she smokes on the deck.
I trust that flaws in the jet’s thin metal skin
are within tolerance, that the gaps between atoms
hold against stresses at forty thousand feet,
will not rip open and hurl me to the ground.
And it seems, Mr. Adams, I have no recourse
but to trust the human flaws of senators, governors,
and presidents, that they lie within tolerance
of gaps in the law.