Various and Sundry Poetry


Maybe she began here, in the pre-holiday aisles of Shop-Rite,
where housewives jostled for turkeys and old men shuffled
toward the canned goods, and where I am never more aware
of my strange residency in this town.
Or maybe she lay waiting on the library shelves yesterday afternoon,
upstairs, in fiction, where I searched for the perfect novel
for the long plane ride on Tuesday.
It’s possible she’s been nestling all week in the dirty laundry,
or the broken toilet on the third floor, or in the folder of receipts
marked “Business.” 
I know I saw her once on the front lawn
after a rain shower, when each leaf – fallen and not – 
was sighing its relief. 
When a poem is ready - I have been telling myself for years - 
she finds you.
Flags me down on Route 3 heading east, or when I
set the table for dinner with the swerve and sway of teenage boys 
making a carnival ride of the kitchen. 
In the shower, shampooing, after a full but fruitless day, 
her first words dust off, too,
quietly arranging themselves - I discover later - into deliberate stanzas, 
clearing a path from my busy body to the soft valley of a page. 

But last night, I went in search of her instead, asked
“Do you want to go to bed?” and winked.
She followed me upstairs, wordless,
and we wrestled for the first kiss.

I don’t know, quite, who won.
But I know I slept like a newborn and woke
with a smile on my lips, as if I had said everything
and nothing at all, and both
were sufficient.