Doug Sylver 

I’ve heard poets say
or more precisely
I’ve read poets write
that writing is
hard work
up at the crack of dawn
nose to the grindstone
at the computer
even before the coffee kicks in
squeezing out sparks
something out
of the nothingness
and that the
of the muse
smacking you
in the forehead with
“hey, what about this?”
is a lie
a con
an impossible dream
like Santa Claus
the Easter Bunny
clean air and kindness.
But I’m here to say
or more precisely
I’m here to write
it’s not true
it is true
depending upon
like so much
your point
of view.
Just now walking
as is my routine
foraging, gleaning, sifting through fragments earlier missed
and at a busy
in the tall grasses of
the median strip
I saw clusters
clusters upon clusters
of mushrooms
amateur forager
that I am
I immediately
identified them
as parasols
umbrella-like as they
soon will be
when they open up
maybe in the rain
or maybe in too much sun.
I then meandered
over to the nearby park
still urban enough
but with green pieces
almost wild in between
since that is where
I’ve foraged in the past and even
brought some home
made a soup and didn’t
die of poisoning although
I felt a bit
but I think it
was more the rush
of knowing I was maybe
killing myself
and it tasted so good
although my wife
more everything than
refused to even sniff it.
Meandering through the
margins of this urban park
the wild parts
where I’ve found so many mushrooms before
instead I find a young lady
all in black
ahead of me
and looking down
like she’d lost something
that’s the way to find them
your supposed to stand
with your hands on the back of your hips
and scan
like a grandmother who’s lost
her wedding ring
and this girl all in black
was doing all this
but moving
if slowly and
looking over her shoulder
at me
even though I was ten or more
feet behind her
knowing we’re still in the era
of distancing
have been
will be
almost forever
especially in situations
like this
but I blurt out to her
curious as I am
“...are you looking for...?”
pausing a bit
looking ahead
and down
“Home” she says
“...I’m looking for...”
and there
behind the barbed wire fence
of a green holly hedge
in the very margins of the world
a blanket
a backpack
a barefooted boy
all in black
fast asleep.

Doug Sylver’s poetry has appeared in Seattle Arts and Lectures’
Sal/On and now, proudly, in Floating Bridge Press’s Pontoon
Poetry, among other places. His short prose is in The Sun
’s Readers Write and The New York Times has
published his vignettes in their Metropolitan Diary. His travel
writings can be found on International Living’s website.
He taught Language Arts and English Language Learners in
Seattle Public Schools for over twenty-five years, retired
recently, and lives in Seattle with his beloved wife, Monica.

Leave a Reply