Exit Interview (excerpt)

This entry is part 26 of 41 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Autumn 2012

What have you learned, I am asked; or, Who do you think you are?

I have learned that from the same window, the landscape is always the same, even when it is different. For example, today, heavy frost sheens the branches of trees. Yesterday, they were leafed in ochre and gold.

The seasons are punctuated by construction work, sewers flooding over, the high tide rising, squabbles with the local government over the correct placement and reading of water meters.

Every summer, when tall ships sail into the harbor unfurling flags from different countries, my heart feels that familiar tugging, reminding me of all the times it wants to climb the rigging, all the times it refuses to budge from its crow’s nest.

Patience is not necessarily a virtue learned only through traditional monastic disciplines; one school of teaching conducts its lessons through customer service branches on the telephone. It doesn’t matter for which product— just hit the prompt for “customer service” or “service hotline.”

There are only so many trips one can make to the mall or to the craft shops, hunting for sales, before the price tag evaporates with the steam of adrenaline. The shelf life of products grows shorter by the season.

Half a bag of apples, a few carrots, and a knob of ginger will make juice for around three people.

Who do I think I am? I ask myself the same question over a hundred times a day. Sometimes I think I hear an answer, and then I realize the sound of voices has drifted in through the window from somewhere up the street.

One thing seems a little more certain now than it was before: I do not chafe so much at silence anymore; but still, I know to crave the sweet touch of a hand, the memory of lips and eyes.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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