Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer Pleasures

I must confess:  being the Arts and Crafts director at Vacation Bible School has been more exhausting than I thought it would be.  After each work day, I load up the car with supplies and head to the church where for the next 4 hours, I help preside over fun and some chaos of the mostly organized sort.

I am very glad that my sister reminded me to get washable paint.

Next week I need to develop a list of writing tasks to accomplish before summer ends.  Next week, I need to write a new poem. 

This week, I need to get through the week.

But hey, it could be worse.  Yesterday, I was reminiscing about days in grad school when we couldn't afford to run the AC.  Most people look at me with pity when I tell them that, but those days had their pleasures too.

Long ago, I wrote a poem that explains those pleasures then that are lacking now.  It was first published in Mid-America Poetry Review.

Betting with Blueberries

We bet with blueberries, playing poker
late into the night. We’re too poor
for cable or air conditioning, but we afford
occasional treats like fresh fruit in season. The fan
blows warm air across this sauna of a room.
We drip sweat and deal the cards.

I lose every time. My appetite
for berries overwhelms my desire to win.
Besides, I barely understand the rules.
The heat sucks away my powers of concentration.
I wrap ice cubes in washcloths, dab at my skin:
old-fashioned air conditioning.

Years later, I sit alone in my air-conditioned
house. All my friends, too busy
for unstructured evenings, desert
me for families and jobs.
I could afford blueberries every night, in season and out,
if I wanted, but I’d trade all these luxuries,
so out of reach in my student past,
I’d trade them all for endless poker nights,
the comfort of friendship, the consolation of the future.

1 comment:

Lucille in CT said...

Can I just tell you I love this poem? I was on vacation last week (an unstructured quiet "staycation" as they're called) and am back to work and I read your blog at work---so here I am catching up!