Bumping Around

by Eileen Pettycrew

Featured Art: Vaider, by John Schriner

Then I saw a man sheltering from the rain
inside a concrete circle meant to be
a work of art. I didn’t want to think
he was homeless, just a commuter waiting
for the light rail. Forgive me,
I’ve seen trash spilling from hillsides,
tents popping up like mushrooms in the dark.
Mattresses, ripped tarps, lamps, rugs,
metal and plastic twisted into a pile
reaching the top of a broken-down RV.
Last week I saw a flag flying at half-staff
after another mass shooting,
and underneath the flag, an electronic billboard
that said Walk Away from Joint Pain.
Forgive me for thinking it was a signal
to drag my sorry body up and over the wind,
to rise like vapor, like water cycling
around the earth, sky to land and back again,
one big circle that never ends.
Let me feel a little love for everything.
The steaming pile of wood chips, the barren
stumps, the grove of trees still bearing
open wounds from February’s ice storm.
The days I shivered in a cold house,
bumping around in the dark with a flashlight,
hoping the batteries would last.

Eileen Pettycrew’s poems have appeared in CALYX, The Westchester Review, The Normal School, SWWIM Every Day, Gold Man Review, The Scream Online Dreams Anthology, Watershed Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

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