BEING ALIVE IS THE MEANING

We watched the needle fall,
miles correlating with the
liquid in our tank.
We moved ourselves through
so many state lines,
we forgot time.

Highways laced through
impeccable fields, indigo
ponds nested within tall grass.
We counted license plates,
saying “You’re far from home!”

Our bodies didn’t ask for much,
we ate Airheads and Starbursts,
skipping lunch.

We learned that water is essential.
Water is where the people are –
Madison, Minneapolis or Montana.

Lake-life is alive even in land-locked
states.

Seven days of sight-seeing.
They told me the middle would be boring.
I swear I loved it all.

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Driving through beautiful Montana

AN EDUCATION

(I wrote this poem about two years ago, when I was unemployed after college. Now I’m about to be voluntarily unemployed. How much life can change in so little time. I am learning now what is essential to my happiness, my wholeness. And it absolutely means simplicity.)

Our fruit baskets are not empty.
My shelf is filled (so is hers).
Our tiny fridge is clumsy with
tissue-thin bags of produce.

After breakfast, I’ll cover my
body in lavender suds.
And comb my thick, soft hair.

Some things can’t be measured.
I’m like a housewife without a
husband, when I only want
to be fitted for an office chair.

Today, I’ll hang the lace curtains,
write four cover letters,
make three square meals,
sweep the hall,
brush the rectangular edge of my
nightstand with mustard paint.

No paycheck, but my diploma is
in the mail. I’m good for it.

IT’S ALMOST TIME TO LEAVE

When Angie comes around,
I know it’s almost time to leave.

She crinkles her nose at me
when I’ve got fifty tabs open
in a browser, while she shimmies
behind my chair to collect
my plastic bag of paper & lemon peels.

Go home, she insists playfully with a gesture
at an invisible watch on her wrist.

She shows me pictures from her
native land with a longing I admire.
Live to work here, she says, No
way to live.

Angie sees everything, knows everything.
Quiet observer, kindest heart.

Today, I told her that I’m leaving.
No, she said. And then she said it again.

And then: I won’t see you anymore?
She sighed & kissed me on the forehead.

SIDEWALK CLOSED

Giant square holes
of missing earth
Caramel mud

And the great striped
barrel of the cement truck

Painted like a carnival
sliding liquid armor
into the ground

stopping traffic
starting anew

COMFORT

Spring onions
[ little but mighty ]
dance around in
a Friday evening pan
& press their tangy scent
through screened windows
in Queen Village.

Volvo-owning dads
mirror-shine their autos
with microfiber
cloths & load hatchbacks
with camping equipment.

I walk through it all,
like an open air museum.
Grilled burgers & Turtle Wax,
basil clippings from the window
box.

Society hill

Society Hill, Philadelphia