Let’s Go Out for Breakfast, I Say to Myself
I rush my card for the famous poet’s birthday
to the biggest Post Office at eight on Monday
so it won’t arrive late,
card with a green bamboo jungle,
a panda bear looking content,
which I wrote reminded me of him.
At the hipster café, I order a latte,
but it’s bitter, the bagel too salty to eat.
I spend the morning on a stool,
watching strangers on the street,
March winds buffeting their eyes
with winter dust. At lunch I meet my beloved,
her teaching gig done,
but the cool taco truck’s closed,
Not enough staff, explains the handmade sign.
We make our hungry way home,
in separate cars,
and I stop at the railroad crossing.
Last November, her student backed onto the tracks,
didn’t see the oncoming train.
I pause at the makeshift shrine—
a wooden cross, piles of basketballs,
plastic flowers, teddy bears.
Though the postman told me the card will arrive late,
though the coffee was undrinkable,
the bagel inedible,
the taco place closed,
though everyone has dust in their eyes,
for one moment I saw it:
a single ash leaf lifting upward,
spiraling over the railroad tracks,
brown, but somehow catching the light,
so it gleamed in passing,
spinning out of sight.
Laura Foley is the author of eight poetry collections. Everything We Need: Poems from El Camino was released, in winter 2022. It’s This is due out in Spring 2023. Her poems have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, One Art Poetry, Poetry Society London, Crannog Magazine (Ireland), DMQ Review, Atlanta Review, Mason Street, JAMA, and many others. Her work has been included in many anthologies such as: Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems, Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection, and How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope. Laura lives with her wife, Clara Gimenez, among the hills of Vermont. http://www.laurafoley.net