Thursday, December 31, 2009

Party Like It's 2010


I love new beginnings. A chance to start with a clean slate, wipe away the mistakes, make it right.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Long Time Ago in a Land Faraway


She Never Went Hungry

She couldn’t remember
the first time she saw an avocado.
Even if she’d known about them
they would have been too expensive
to find their way to her shopping cart.
She bought at the base exchange:
potatoes, flour, sugar
canned corn and red beans
Wonder bread and baloney.
He took his lunch.
Sandwiches and cookies and
a thermos of coffee.
She waitressed at the pancake house
where two free meals
could be anything on the menu
(except the T-bone.)
Mostly she chose pancakes,
homemade pie, ice cream
growing plump beneath the
white nylon uniform.
By Thanksgiving she knew
her rounding stomach
was more than too much starch.


If she didn’t count the vomiting
and the loss of interest in sex,
it was a good time.
She quit her job, took up nesting
filled the freezer with casseroles
and the dresser with tiny
handmade shirts and blankets
While he spent all his time
working on the car.
She filled the empty space
with television
mother-to-be magazines
and lemon meringue pies.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

What Else Could He Do

The walls are thin and she can see sunlight around the windows. When the wind gets up, the howling keeps her awake and creates small dunes of red sand along the west walls. During the day she wedges cotton into the cracks around the windows with a case knife. It helps, a little, but they still have to sleep with a wet wash cloth over their faces in order to breathe. 

She didn’t ask for this life, had once imagined joining her sister on the assembly lines at the plant in Dallas. But that dream was overcome by a handsome airman who undid her bra with one hand on their first date. She made him fasten it back and take her home straightaway but his big gold-toothed smile and an embarrassed apology made her give him a second chance.


A month later he asked her to marry and she said yes. She knew he had a child and wasn’t quite divorced yet, but he promised to fix that soon. After the wedding at city hall, they rented a house in River Oaks near her sister so she could babysit her niece and nephew. 

After he was discharged from the service, he took a job driving long-haul trucks. He was gone a lot but home long enough for her to get pregnant. In the summer, he brought home ears of fresh corn and tomatoes and green beans from the roadsides where he stopped to sleep. And then one night he showed up with a scrawny kid with long braids and his hazel eyes, carrying a grocery sack of faded dresses and raggedy underwear. “What else could I do?” his eyes begged.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Fresh Start


In the summer of ’88, I loaded up everything I owned in the largest truck I could get from U-Haul and moved to a former apple orchard outside Aromas. Within a few months I’d populated my two acres with a ewe and her two babies, a dog, a cat, and a pair of gay goats. In the rare evenings when the fog didn’t come in, I imagined I could see the ocean through the notch between two small hills on the western horizon. 


Some nights I’d pick up a jug of red wine, throw briquettes on the rickety barbecue, and grill a big ribeye for me and the dog. Most days I’d work awhile in the yard or the garden area. Once I came across a small snake hiding under a thick patch of Johnson grass. Deathly afraid of snakes, I called the Aromas Fire Department for help. “Is it on fire?” they asked.

Another time a red ferret raced into the garage and out again. Occasionally wild chickens would try to roost in the laundry area. Once I found a small greenish egg up near the box of Tide.
Over time I grew tan and muscled and comfortable with myself in a way I didn’t remember being before. I canned apples and made applesauce and finally got a small garden put in. I got to know my neighbor with the funny accent (he was from Malta by way of Canada) who made his own wine and cured olives. I learned to take his advice about most things.

My life now is tamer. I miss the sense of adventure, the naive belief in unlimited possibilities.

Freezing


Yesterday seemed warmer somehow. The tree, the fireplace, the warmed over tamales. A spectacular dinner orchestrated by my brilliant son. 

Today I feel like an icicle, waiting to break off the gutter and crash to the ground.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Getting Closer


Fabulous art from bengalized.com
It's almost here--Christmas, then fast on its heels, the New Year. It's true what they say: time flies faster as you grow older. 


But it's also true that we can slow it down just by taking a deep breath, refusing to let go of each minute, each second, until we've sucked all the sweetness out of it. My mantra remains: beauty, order, and purpose.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

YOO HOO!


Russell has been my guy from the beginning. My eyes are full of tears. I can't explain it. It just is.

My Brain on Work


To Do List
  • Make sure everyone turns in their timesheets
  • Turn in all the timesheet information
  • Reorganize teacher assignments
  • Notify teachers that are being "let go"
  • Identify and punish students who are terrorizing bus drivers
  • Find classroom space for two new "outside" programs
  • Make sure everyone gets their picture taken for badges
  • Make sure I get my picture taken
  • Make sure everyone knows about the Jan 11 training
  • Find out EXACTLY when/where/if training is taking place
  • Reassure the principal that after school is under control
  • Reassure my district office boss that everything is under control
  • Convince myself that after school is under control
  • Get all the staff authorizations in place for 2010
  • Drink more coffee

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I Love Art


That sings to me; art that sucks me in, makes me want to dance. Art that sits outside the mainstream. Chor Boogie paints with a spray can, public art, big art. I want to apprentice with Chor Boogie.

Wanda Part 9

Ruby drops the mail on the kitchen table: The Farm Journal, the butane bill, the weekly advertisement from Furr's. Then the envelope with the familiar handwriting and no return address. She reaches for the chair back to steady herself, then sits. Her hands shake so hard she can hardly open the letter. 

Dear Mama and Daddy,
I hope you have not worried about me cause I am fine. I am sorry for not writing. I miss you. Tell Daisy I hope she is doing good in school. I love you and I'm ok. 

Wanda

She looks at the smeared postmark. She hears Marvin coming in the backdoor and begins to cry.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pearls Before Swine


On this day in 1685: Artificial pearls were first manufactured in Paris by M. Jaquin by covering gypsum pellets with fish scales. They're still working on artificial swine.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Looking Out the Window at Jack London Square


Jack London (age 9) with his dog


White Fang was enormously popular with my 4th grade students. Enthralled with Jack London’s famous tale of the part-wolf, part Indian sled dog, I think they made connections on many levels with their own uprooted lives and limited, sometimes dangerous options. I like to think that reading this story helped them, in the long run, to better navigate their own tenuous paths.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Cribbage


After my grandmother died, my grandfather's bachelor brother moved in with him. They lived together for many years in the tiny house where I grew up, finally adding a bathroom on the back of the house and abandoning the old privy. 

They whiled away many hours drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, and playing cribbage with their homemade scoring tiles, pictured above. I'd give about anything to spend just one more afternoon with them, laughing and talking about the good old days.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Once Upon a Time


I was married to a crazy man. He was also an artist and taught me to paint with oils. This is one of my paintings. When I look at it, I can't believe it was me, either as the artist or the wife. But that's my signature.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Beautiful Biloba


On the advice of my primary care physician, about a month ago I started taking ginkgo biloba. Research and trials in Europe have shown a correlation between taking ginkgo biloba 2 or 3 times daily and increased mental acuity. The data indicates that it can reduce the effects of early stage Alzheimer's. I do feel like my memory is better. So stay tuned.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Wonderful Woman


My sister. Today is her birthday. She deserves to be Queen for a Day, this day. Every day. She is one of the best human beings I've ever known. A hard worker, a loving wife and mother, a sweet sister. Happy Birthday!

Help


I'm spending half my time in this job fixing time card problems from the beginning of the after school program. Yikes! Oh well, it's $28.65 an hour. Our tax dollars at work.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I Think That I Shall Never See




I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.  
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray; 
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
                             Joyce Kilmer


One of my favorite grade school activities was memorizing and reciting poetry. It offered a glimmer of a wider world, something to reach for. There doesn't seem to be much time or interest in such things these days and that makes me sad.

Armageddon in Retrospect


"Writing was a spiritual exercise for my father, the only thing he really believed in." Mark Vonnegut


I have been in love with Kurt Vonnegut for most of my adult life. Imagine my joy when I came across Armageddon in Retrospect. It's a wonderful collection of unpublished stories and essays. It fills in some of the blank spaces and reminds me once again how important writers are to civilization.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Utter Exhaustion


Except for the cigarette, this could be me. I won't go into the details, but in a few short weeks I've got myself enmeshed at school, as surely as if it were a big tar pit. Oh well. As my hero Kurt Vonnegut would say, "So it goes."

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Memory Lapse and Incoming Information




School is overstimulated and overstimulating. Teachers are stretched too thin. Principals are unrealistic. Students are out of control. Parents are overworked. I fall into bed at night, sleep the sleep of the dead. How could I have forgotten that this is the way it always is?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Queen for a Day


In the early 1950s, my grandmother and I listened each morning to Jack Bailey as he bestowed temporary royalty on an audience member. Each contestant explained why they needed a specific item: a washing machine, special shoes for a crippled child, groceries for a starving family of 10.  The lucky winner was chosen by audience applause. I always tried to imagine what my grandmother would ask for if she were on the show.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mark Twain AKA Samuel Clemens



November 30, 1835-April 21, 1910


"Every time you stop a school, you will have to build a jail. What you gain at one end you lose at the other. It's like feeding a dog on his own tail. It won't fatten the dog."  Speech, 11/23/1900

Saturday, November 28, 2009

In the Style of the Brothers Grimm




An Adult Nursery Rhyme

It’s tea time, my free time
but what’s a dragon to do
I’ve read this book a thousand times
the story must be true

The fire burns red and blue and green
the lilies wilt and it would seem
that all is well with me
but I’m alone so far from home
and there’s no one I want to see

It would be good if the rains would come
and wash away my grief
my belly’s full but my heart is broke
and sleep brings no relief

The wings upon my broken back
no longer do they fly
so I will close my eyes at last
and hope that I don’t die.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Life Mistake #253


I once had an opportunity to buy an Andy Warhol litho, something similar to the above. It was less than a grand, but way out of my league at the time. I've always wished I had bought it anyway. 

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Just Another Norman Rockwell Day


I grew up yearning for Norman Rockwell holidays, painfully aware that my family would never quite measure up. After I went to live with my father and step-mother, we did have big family gatherings at Mamaw and PawPaw's tiny house in Ropesville, Texas. The table settings were simple, the food magnificent, my aunts striving to outdo each other. The men and children ate first; the women waited till last to find a place.


My son inherited the Gregory cooking gene. Each Thanksgiving he carefully prepares all the traditional dishes: turkey, dressing, giblet gravy, pickled beets, green beans, homemade pumpkin pies. And we are all most thankful.

Too Good to Miss


Every Tuesday and Wednesday, I'm mesmerized by the talent on "So You Think You Can Dance." And I'm totally blown away by Russell Ferguson, a krump dancer from Boston who is also trained in ballet, modern dance, and tap. After the show, I even pick up the phone and vote for him.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mare's Tails and Fish Scales




Mare’s tails, we called them. They offered the possibility of some respite from the heat as we made our way up and down the rows. Two up, two back, sun-up to around noon, when the heat would drive us in for lunch. Baloney sandwiches and ice cold sweet tea, maybe some leftover cake if we were lucky. Afterwards, a long nap on the cool linoleum floor. 


By 2:00 we’d be back in the field, revived and working quickly to finish as much as we could by 5:00 when it’d be time to change the irrigation pipe. Mom set the pace and I kept up as best I could. If I was unlucky and got the rows where the Johnson grass patch sent tubers deep into the red sand, she’d come and help me dig it out.
Up and down, up and down, eyes darting, me watching for snakes, Mom watching for field mice, each with our separate demons. 


Once she chopped the head off a small gopher snake, left it laying between the furrows, waiting for me to get even with the dead carcass so she could yell “SNAKE!” and laugh while I went leaping up and down the row, shrieking and cursing.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

An Awesome Young Man

http://video.telegraph.co.uk/services/player/bcpid1137883380?bctid=21337502001

I couldn't figure out how to link this more elegantly. But, check it out. Very cool!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy Birthday to My Beloved James

Love Story in Six Parts

1. Long Night

Damp skin to damp skin
she rocks gently
to the hum of the kitchen
the flutter of night birds.
His tiny hand wraps round her finger.
For now they are safe.
She prays for a long night.

2. The Kiss

Her heart is full of grief.
Her heart is broken.
The pain runs out the bottom.
Love flows in the top
runs out the bottom.

They let her dress him.
She touches his face, his body
checks to see
if he was taking care
of himself.
He’s not skinny.
She feels better.

She kisses his feet.
Like the day he was born.

3. Waiting

A menagerie of glass
misfits
throwaways
a hummingbird with no feet
an apple with no stem
an angel with only one wing.
He sees past the missing parts
the sharp dangerous edges
scoops them up
gives them sanctuary
in the small drab room
where his dreams struggle to survive.

They crouch on shelves
hide in drawers
wait in boxes
to be discovered by someone else
a new savior
who can find beauty 

where others see
only trash.

4. April’s Sorrow

Wind whips against windows
rattles the glass
whistles up drain spouts.
Trees bend
flick roof tops with bare limbs
unburden themselves
of the last dry leaves
prepare for spring rebirth.

April’s sorrow,
an unwanted but expected guest,
slips quietly into the room
sits in the corner of her heart.

She presses fingertips
to the cool glass
prays for a cleansing wind
to lift the dead foliage
of guilt and regret.

5. What She Saves

Each harsh word.
Each time she made a selfish choice.
Midday calls from the school,
late-night calls from the police.
Relief when he leaves;
grief, emptiness
when he is gone.

He lives a life without rules
but with consequences.

She waits for visiting hours to begin
endures the silence 

when family news is exhausted.
Later he refuses even phone calls.
She waits
hopeless
sees the future,
is not prepared when it arrives.

She saves it all in a small box,
buries it
in the back yard
in an unmarked grave.
Starts a new box for
other things she needs to save.

6. Dia de los Muertos

Borrowing the custom from her neighbors
she builds an altar
covers it with photographs
birthday cards, his favorite book,
homemade calaveras and sugar skulls.

She reads that in Oaxaca those who
leave this world con violencia
return early, October 28th
perhaps to leave space for gentler
spirits who arrive on All Souls Day.
She buries herself in mindless work
glasses of tequila
tears
until well after midnight.
The altar sits dark.

November 1st
tissue paper flowers, papel picado
flutter in the draft of burning candles
lifting another layer of grief.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Makebate


Makebate: a trouble-maker
After 3 days on the job, I'm obsessed with fixing what's wrong and making everything better. 
It's a curse.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Exhaustion


I'm so tired I can't stand myself. But it's all good.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Where It All Began


And why it will never stop. . .

These girls were students in my first teaching gig: after school at Hall District almost ten years ago . For the next few months I'll be running the same program down the street at Ohlone School. After one day, I'm already smitten.

Back to School


It won't be quite this much fun, but it will be good to be back with the afterschool children. It's a parttime gig until April 1. I won't have quite as much free time, but I'll have a bit more money :>)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Waiting for Picasso


I'm old, look good in blue, and want to sit barefoot on a street corner and play the guitar. Maybe I was just born too late.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Once Upon a Time



There was a mom with two small sons. They all lived in a small house with one real bedroom and a pretend bedroom in the garage. On neighborhood clean-up night, they walked the streets, dragging home a blue and turquoise sofa and a dresser with a missing drawer. 


Responding to a strange yearning, the mom saw small framed reproductions of famous artworks at the local grocery store. Choosing carefully, she brought home a Monet, two Van Goughs, and a Picasso. 


Sitting alone in the dark, she looked around the room and saw that it was good. 

Happy Birthday Whoopi


AKA the Genie from Aladdin, by way of photographer Annie Leibowitz, commissioned by Disney to celebrate their "Year of a Million Dreams." 

Thursday, November 12, 2009

To Do List


Plant yellow jonquils and purple iris
Listen to ravens outside the window
Encourage the world to be kinder
Teach children to fall in love with words

Feel less sad when I say goodbye
Cherish my granddaughter’s voice
Worry less about the future
Weep when I remember my father

Try everything at least once
Fill my life with color and song
Work at being more patient
Learn to live one day at a time

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day


This photo represents a time when James was feeling strong and self-confident. Having just finished Marine bootcamp, he felt a part of something larger than himself. Sadly, within a relatively short time, he was assigned to endless days of mindless maneuvers and resorted to endless weekends of drugs and alcohol.
At some point he went AWOL and ended up in the brig. He eventually fathered a son, married, fathered two more children, divorced, dealt drugs, fathered another child, and lived on the edge for the rest of his short life.
But I will forever remember that tearful day when I watched my son stand with his Marine brothers, feeling strong and full of purpose.

Wanda Part 8

Ruby looks at the clock. It’s only 5:30 but she’s been awake for at least an hour. Marvin snores lightly, the lines on his forehead relaxed. She eases from the bed, puts on her robe, and goes to make coffee. It’s Wednesday and she needs to be at Furr’s by 8:30 to sack groceries.
She lights the oven, stirs up a pan of biscuits, and fries some bacon. Awakened by the smell of breakfast, Marvin is up and out to milk. Ruby goes into the middle bedroom, nuzzles Daisy’s ear, and gently shakes the bed. “Time to get up little girl. If you want a ride to school this morning, you’ll have to be ready to go when I am.”
Marvin brings in the bucket of warm milk. Ruby strains it through an old dishtowel and finds a place in the refrigerator for the gallon jug. The three of them sit down to eat, the silence broken only by the scrape of forks.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Happy Birthday Clara Ann Fowler

AKA, Patti Page, reminds me of being 10 years old (1954) and going to live with my father and step-mother (AKA Mom). Mom had a beautiful voice (still does) and would sing many of the pop songs of that time. One of my favorites was "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?"

Somewhere I Have Never Traveled

One of life's pleasures is discovering universal stories told in languages other than mine. Yesterday, Cindy, Shie-fang, and I went to the Taiwan Film Festival in San Francisco to see Somewhere I Have Never Traveled. It's an extraordinary film from first time Director/Writer Fu-Tien Yu, with stellar performances by first time actors. Hopefully it will be released elsewhere and made available on DVD. For more info: http://www.sffs.org/screenings-and-events/fall-season/taiwan-film-days.aspx

Saturday, November 7, 2009

San Francisco Icon

Silver Crest: a cool diner with great burgers and an honest-to-god jukebox at each booth. There's a bar and pool table in the back. Chat up the owner who hasn't missed a day in 40 years and you might end up with a free shot of ouzo. Check it out!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wanda Part 7

“So, how far along are you?”

Wanda is caught off guard. She tries to avoid looking directly at Marlene but knows that won’t work for long. She might as well get it over with. “About two months, I guess. I never was that regular so I’m not for sure.”

Marlene balances the plates of pancakes and eggs on her arm and backs through the swinging door. “Looks more like three to me.”

Wanda hopes Marlene is wrong. She also hopes she won’t say anything to anyone else, especially the manager. She needs to work as long as she can and she hasn’t told Jake yet. It could get ugly if he heard from someone else that she was pregnant.

Marlene swings back into to the kitchen. “You seen a doctor yet?”

“I don’t even know one. I’ve never been to the doctor since I left…” she started to say “home” but knew that wouldn’t be a good idea. “Since I left school. Do you know anybody?”

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Blackbirds-One of My Favorite Things


Parapraxis


parapraxis: n. a memory loss; a slip of the tongue; general clumsiness

Like many of my peers, I find myself searching my brain for an elusive word, a phrase waiting right there on the tip of the tongue.
.
I prefer to see this as the result of having consumed so much information over the years, that some of it just naturally sinks to the bottom of consciousness, waiting until it's really needed.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Henri Matisse 1869-1954


Sometimes I think I was born too late. I'm so drawn to the art of this era (late 1800's/early 1900's). Still, there's a role for the "rememberers."

T for Texas, T for Tennessee

She's two-stepping with Daddy to her aunt's scratchy record player. Her family doesn't dance much. Mostly they play cards, smoke cigarettes, tell jokes, and drink coffee.

She knows they wish she'd go outside and play with the kids but she doesn't feel like a kid anymore. She doesn't feel like a grownup either but she's learned to play canasta perched on a stool at her aunt’s elbow. Sometimes they let her sit in on a hand while her dad goes to switch the irrigation line over to the other side.

Once, when her step-mother found out that she'd been smoking with friends out behind the school gym at lunch, she had to smoke a whole pack of Lucky Stikes in front of Uncle James. One cigarette after another, her eyes red from smoke and choked-back tears. Her aunt wouldn’t look at her, never said a word.

A couple of years later she saw her aunt with her dad in the parking lot of Myrtle Hill Baptist Church, their arms around each other, barely visible in the dark. She wondered if it was that day of smoke and tears that brought them together in some kind of shared understanding that it wasn’t good to humiliate a child, even if it was “for her own good.”

Monday, November 2, 2009

Day of the Dead

On this special day of remembrance, my heart turns to my beloved James. 1963-1997

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Harmonica Player

She wanted to play the harmonica ever since she heard those women at The Five and Dine in El Segundo. They must have been in their fifties or sixties, the three of them. One played guitar and the other a keyboard. But it was the harmonica that made Marlene fall in love.

Later a friend of a friend gave her one but only if she promised to play it. She tried but it was just too big, too fancy. So she put it back in its pretty case and went down to the used book store where she found a smaller one with instructions and a guarantee that “anybody can learn to play.”

At night she’d pour herself a finger of Jim Beam and sit out on the back step to practice. At first it seemed hard and then easy and then it got hard again. The only part she could get right was the uh huh huh huh. After awhile it got to be more fun to have another finger or two of JB, forget about the book, and just let ‘er rip.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Windows on My World

We tackle the big guys (3 twelve-foot sliders) tomorrow. Thank goodness we'll have an extra hour of daylight :)

Keeping Her Options Open


Just in case there's not a big demand for cheerleaders, Isabelle is getting some early experience in construction!

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Box




She’s boxed in by sense of duty

responsibility to others

She’s boxed out by sense of duty

responsibility to herself

Her days are spent working out the former

her nights trying to resolve the latter

She dreams of pushing against the sides

but is confused

not sure if she is pushing in or out

She wakes in the middle of the night

in a warm sweat

wonders how long it will take to grow up

Up up up

Until she can step over the walls

Free, able to think outside the box

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wanda Part 6

Jake lies on his side, watching fat guys shove each other around. “Bring me a beer,” he growls. His guy’s not doing so well. Wanda wonders if he bets money on the wrestlers. Otherwise she can’t see why he gets so excited. She’d like to watch something different sometimes, maybe Dr. Kildare or I Love Lucy, but it doesn’t matter enough to get into an argument.

There’s time enough for that. She has to tell him soon that she’s pregnant, that they’re going to have a baby. She’s not completely sure, but she’s pretty sure. She hasn’t had morning sickness but she also hasn’t had a period since before Christmas. He’s never been that interested in using anything so, maybe he’ll be happy about it, especially if it’s a boy. Maybe he’ll think about getting a house or at least a real apartment.

And when she starts showing, they probably won’t let her waitress anymore. They might let her work in the kitchen for a while but Marvin doesn’t really need any help and neither does the dishwasher. She wonders if the other waitress will give her a baby shower. She wonders what her mother would think, Wanda being only seventeen and all, and not married. She smiles at the thought of what those old church biddies would say if they knew.

Just by Chance

Staring into faded bricks,

glare of cheap hotels,

I ache for the smell of my own pillow.

Pack quickly, leave an hour early.

Waiting in a coffee shop

for the airport bus,

the rain begins.

Edging toward an empty table

a frail grey-haired woman

shrinks from the scowl of the waitress,

starts to leave.

“Sit with me,” I offer,

feeling lonely for both of us.

We talk of weather, of cities.

I give her my well-worn map.

She hands me a card,

a man’s name crossed out

hers penciled in.

“If you ever come to Miami

you can stay with me.

If I still have the house,” she adds.

Suddenly she pulls away,

pays her check, hurries out.

“Be careful of the wet streets,” I call.

Finishing my coffee, I leave for home.