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painted poem #10/21


At the far end of baggage claim in pastel shirts and navy blue blazers they look so longingly in my direction, jiggling their hopeful block-letter signs— Hernandez, Patel, Moore—I want to go to one and say, Yes, I am Mrs. Moore, then turn and walk with him into a new life. Yes, I want to say. To everything. Hyatt Regency, poolside? Yes, praise the Lord. Oh, thank you— these bags seem to put on pounds with each new time zone… Am I attending the conference? Why, yes. Giving the keynote on my life’s work with elephants. Yes, amazing, what they have to say— in registers beneath the human ear. Expressions of love for which we have no name. No, I never made out the actual words, but they taught me with subterranean patience. I learned to sleep standing on the savanna, rocked in a long slow chorus of grass-scented breath… Yes, I see the traffic’s terrible this way. I don’t mind at all if you take the back road. And do tell me about your summer with the bears. Especially the scrappy one with the torn-up ear. He led you upriver to watch the salmon spawn? And you ate with him. And that fish still flaps in the pit of you? The fish you shared with the gleaming, slobbering dark?

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