Like a bad relationship I keep coming back to, April rolls around and I am joining again in the NaPoWriMo fray. (That’s National Poetry Writing Month.) This time I do it with absolutely no pretension or intention of writing anything of any value, to which a certain friend said with deep approval, “Good.” Then it irks me that others are so ready encourage me to jettison my aspirations to write well and say meaningful things. It makes me wonder if they don’t think I do that when I’m trying, either. But nonetheless here I am. I’m writing a poem (most) every day because it was my resolution for the year to write five hours a week but then I basically quit altogether, and maybe this will get me going again. And everything I’ve written so far sucks so there is no chance I’ll submit it anywhere without at least making substantial changes, so I might as well post something here.
Interestingly, the themes and style are different than when I left off. Surprise, surprise.
fifty-one dollars isn’t a lot of groceries these days.
and not many write checks, but on Saturday night
she’s there, a handsome if casually dressed woman
with steel-gray hair and when the algorithm
rejects it and I’ve tried it twice and I call the manager,
it takes me back to a truck stop on a narrow highway
in mountains. Canada. Ugly clearing in the big trees
that some call medicine, I call watchers. They watched
as I tried to leave that man. You know the one,
I’ve told you about him, the gaslighter. The manager says
there’s nothing she can do and hands the handsome
and bewildered woman a form with a number she can call
and she pulls out her phone to call right there
and the manager takes her groceries someplace else
while she sorts it out but she says her girlfriend is
meeting her here then gives up and follows the manager.
I remember the desperation when my only credit card
was declined and I was abandoned to that man
in a dirt parking lot in the mountains hear the shrillness
in my voice yelling into the pay phone I made the payment
but it didn’t matter. I check out the next customer.
Everything is fine. She is okay. Fifty-one dollars
isn’t a lot of groceries. A little while later
I see her leaving with the cart, behind her another
woman with steel-gray hair, spikier, shoulders broader,
and I am grateful she has someone. She is not abandoned.
This is not mountain country, and I am the only watcher.