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By Jessica Greenbaum

I only have a moment so let me tell you the shortest story,

about arriving at a long loved place, the house of friends in Maine,

their lawn of wildflowers, their grandfather clock and candid

portraits, their gabled attic rooms, and woodstove in the kitchen,

all accessories of the genuine summer years before, when I was

their son’s girlfriend and tied an apron behind my neck, beneath

my braids, and took from their garden the harvest for a dinner

I would make alone and serve at their big table with the gladness

of the found, and loved. The eggplant shone like polished wood,

the tomatoes smelled like their furred collars, the dozen zucchini

lined up on the counter like placid troops with the onions, their

minions, and I even remember the garlic, each clove from its airmail

envelope brought to the cutting board, ready for my instruction.

And in this very slight story, a decade later, I came by myself,

having been dropped by the airport cab, and waited for the family

to arrive home from work. I walked into the lawn, waist-high

in the swaying, purple lupines, the subject of   June’s afternoon light

as I had never been addressed — a displaced young woman with

cropped hair, no place to which I wished to return, and no one

to gather me in his arms. That day the lupines received me,

and I was in love with them, because they were all I had left,

and in that same manner I have loved much of the world since then,

and who is to say there is more of a reason, or more to love?


Source: Poetry (May 2014)

  • Activities
  • Living
  • Love

Poet Bio

Jessica Greenbaum
Jessica Greenbaum is the poetry editor for upstreet and lives in Brooklyn. She received a 2015 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 2016 she won the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America. See More By This Poet

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