Nancy: Poverty bumps up against wealth when summer vacationers take to the roads as NY and MA and beyond get a yen to see Canada.
Waiting For A Break
“I’ll do what I can.” It’s the best promise
I’ll get, and I hand him the key. Before I’m
out the door he’s back under the big pickup.
The heavy guy by the hoist half grins and shrugs,
like me, he should have been somewhere else,
not watching his livelihood spread itself in pieces
across the oily garage floor.
In the heat haze outside, half the cars in the lot
look abandoned to death-by-grime, and even the ones
with plates crouch over rainbow puddles and sagging
mufflers. They remind me that I’m not alone,
I’ve just joined the helpless carless class, worse,
the rural helpless carless class, grateful for any offer
of a ride, running the endless tape loop...
“if it’s not too much trouble...”
I’ve got my ride home, if we can ever get back on the
highway: U.S. Route One, the road north, and half
of Massachusetts is fleeing the heat. In their motor
homes. In their motorhomes with their boats on trailers.
In their motorhomes with their Lexus in tow and a boat
on the roof and a pop-up satellite dish and cool drinks
in the refrigerator.
It’s like this in the summer, long minutes waiting for a
break while the visible wealth of Connecticut and New York
and Massachusetts flows north in a stream. In a hot
summer like this there are weeks when it seems like
the whole county, all of us, are just sitting on the edge,
watching the bucks roll by and waiting for a break.
Alan: Observing this place, year after year, I become attuned to the balance points, always the same, always subtly different.
The shadows grow longer,
morning by lucent morning,
laying cool hands
on fields still green
from August's mowing and no frost.
The marsh busies itself with shorebirds,
chaff-like, swirling, settling,
Black ducks lift with a clatter
from the still green water:
staccato blink of underwings
pale yellow. Perhaps
a heron kicks upward
with a croak, protesting
the need to find another
fishing place. Sparrows
work the scrub between
lane and shore;
chickadees sing their two-note
Spring call: do they look forward
or back? At the edge
of a quick slide into darkness
it seems at this moment
we could balance forever.
“Waiting For A Break” first appeared in Fencing Wildness (Slow Dancer Press, 1999)