Poem 95

to the boy who lives outside Target on the new side of town. I really do hope you make it all the way to Arizona.

I’m traveling
He said, when asked, adjusting the dog on his hip.
I’ll be taking the I-95 – 4 – no 5 –
I thought of the desert.
I thought of the cubicle with my folders,
the contraband space heaters,
the letterhead envelopes,
purchase orders and felt tipped pens.
Imagined the files flapping their folds
like moths in the evenings
when the sun sets,
when the work is held until morning.
When the sun sets…
I sleep in that empty lot when the sun sets –
he said. The dog looked satisfied with that answer.
If you know anyone – he pointed,
into the desert – that be headin’ that direction,
I seem to need a ride…
Closing fists upon the wheel I apologized frankly.
Not headed any direction, I am headed back to
A cubicle with a rolling chair, an open email
With no recipient, an unsigned proposal,
The lingering to-do list
My father told me – be who you are, be who you want,
 be comfortable in your finances,
In an air conditioned cubicle with a white wall,
white papers, white expressions,
white words on a white subject,
spinning over and over the monthly
merry-go-round, until you retire
and watch cinema about voyages through deserts.
I thought of the desert.
I envy that dog, no need for ballpoints or highlighters,
No worries of 401K notices or cascading spreadsheets.
I envy the boy, with his dog, easily 21, or 18, or 27.
I’m easily 23, or 25, or 19, or 47.
On the monthly money merry-go-round,
Turning hours into dollars, turning dollars into hours,
In this moment I am still,
covetous of the desert,
sunburnt and starving,
A boy and his dog – he and I – separated only by
decimal points, dollar signs, ampersands,
Reach into my purse and hand him a Jackson.
– I hope someday, I’m traveling too.  

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