A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature: over 400,000 monthly users
We were driving home separately from the body shop,
planning to meet halfway at that restaurant
in the hills behind the malls and dealerships,
but I got so lost on the dark back roads
that I pulled into a gas station, an island of light.
The pumps were deserted, but inside was a clerk,
walled off by lottery tickets and slushie machines.
Please, I thought, I have to meet my husband.
He will worry that something bad has happened,
that he must face his future alone, lost in the dark.
The clerk knew the restaurant, even came out
to point: That road winds down through a tunnel,
then count to fifteen, and you’ll be there.
So I drove, and listened to the news, about
the demise of democracy and collapse of civilization,
head-beams probing the dark like outstretched hands.
The sun had sunk behind the jagged trees
in purple streaks, while flares still burned
like refugees’ campfires on the horizon.
The tunnel appeared like a promise kept,
and at the count of fifteen, there it was,
a brick bunker strung with colored lights.
Outside was our car, new bumper gleaming,
and inside, in the paneling, at a Formica table,
there you were, and you weren’t angry. No,
you were glad, and gentle, and you had ordered
korma, and a dhosa stuffed with spiced potatoes,
with condiments of coconut and cooling yogurt.
The owner, scholarly in spectacles, came over
and explained that the cup of reddish liquid
wasn’t a sauce but a soup, and he knew all about
the wife who was lost, and joined in our relief.
Under the fluorescent lights, we ate the hot food,
sharing as we always do, and recounted everything
that had happened since we had separated
at the body shop a half hour before.
Copyright 2020 Judith Sanders
This poem made me cry. I was anxious, waiting for the twist of bad fate, Why was I so uncomfortably anxious and suspicious at first? Trust, imbued with worry, then calmness… a deep breath let out. All is normal, the details of it all come out in the end. All of 30 minutes now a longer dinner conversation. Embraced in comfort the trust and calmness return.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks, Arlene and Michael (and Eva), for listening to this quiet poem. Makes me so happy to have you understand what it has to say.
Beautiful. Love and kindness with mouth watering food and suddenly I feel hungry.
Such a good love poem for Valentine’s Day: married (or committed) love, and kindness from the strangers at the gas station and the restaurant.
Thanks, Arlene. This poem is a sleeper, meaning that it doesn’t wow you at first, but rather it gently accumulates details until you realize that this is a poem about kindness from strangers and the beloved. Eva said this morning over breakfast that she really loves this poem, and so do I.
Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:
You are commenting using your WordPress.com account.
( Log Out /
You are commenting using your Twitter account.
( Log Out /
You are commenting using your Facebook account.
( Log Out /
Connecting to %s
Notify me of new comments via email.
Notify me of new posts via email.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Enter your email address to subscribe to Vox Populi for free.
Enter email address.
Enter your email address to follow Vox Populi and receive new posts by email.
Blog at WordPress.com.