Various and Sundry Poetry

Hope and Olive

I fell in love with the name first. She took me there for dinner, wanted to celebrate something, the end of the week maybe or…no, that’s not it. She wanted to celebrate us, the fact of us, a week in and already so giddy, so full of promise, the space between us electric, chemical, intimate as linen weave. We drove down Main Street in Greenfield on one of the cooler fall evenings and took a right. The restaurant straddled the corner of two streets – Hope and Olive – and that’s where it got its name. Inside, she led us to the bar, where her friend worked the Friday night shift. Everything the color of something rooted, earthbound. The brick of the back wall. The russet menu. The ivory glow of the tableside candles. The deep tawny wood of the bar. I felt my insides soften and surrender. We ordered cocktails with names like “Swan Dive” and “French Pear” and later the meal came, meatloaf with a perfect smoky, caramelized crust and a small mountain of mashed potatoes, but by then I was already deep in it, already memorizing this place like a lover tracing the geography of a hip bone or the small pocket of a shoulder blade, feeling the word “home” imprinting my skin, feeling my old life wrap itself up in a warm coat and without ceremony or grief, step out the door.