Back when I was a transient, I wrote the following poem. I loved my Queen Anne cherry tree and my little flagstone patio, but I was out of place and knew I would never be from “there”. But it was warmer "there" and this is the time of year when I sometimes miss my fernleaf buckhorn and the lilac bursting forth. While there, I missed gravel roads and lakes and woods. Now I no longer have to. Now there are other things to miss. Funny how that works.
But I'm glad to have known what it’s like to be a stranger in a strange place. Come summer, I’ll drive by fields of muck where carrots and lettuces are harvested by brown-skinned men with their shirts off talking to each other in their musical language, and I'll wonder if they feel the way I felt when I wrote this poem. I’m glad my ancestors weren’t considered “illegal” without a right to schools and medical care, a path to citizenship and reward for work well done, but that is a subject for another time. This is poetry month.
The straight lines of the flagstones
are precise as a musical bar.
Our slat backs are positioned to place
our legs in the sun. The Old Peculiar
is chilled. Sit up against me, we’ll share
a glass. You can admire my vices and I your wit.
The dog sees visions, roots out
mushrooms from the zebra grass
while the Queen Anne cherry tree
makes a mess the birds can’t match.
We consider dinner as the sun slips
off our feet. Another hatchling flops
out of the eave and a flock of swallows
darkens the sky in a sudden concerted bank to south.
*first published in the Melic Review