I remember when I was young
and driving thirty miles in sixty minutes
of rush hour traffic twice a day so
I could work for eight hours two cities
away from my children in a high-rise
office that afforded a view of concrete ribbons
racing in every direction with
people who knew my name, but that’s
all and climate control that kept everything
uniform in every season;
I used to think about my grandparents
tucked away in the piney woods in
their small, wooden house with a
screened-in porch for summer sleeping
and their tiny kitchen with a green Formica
table top and a clear plastic cover over
the floral sofa so you could see the bouquets underneath;
with a vegetable garden and a chicken coop
and a trout pond and an old pick up truck
the oil company gave my grandfather
to drive to check their wells, twice a day,
and them waking up together and working
alongside, him hoeing the garden while
she did the laundry and sitting down for lunch
together, every day, bowing their heads to
say thanks for the sweet corn and the left-over
fried chicken and the coupons for paper towels
in the newspaper that day and how those
vinyl chairs clung to your flesh and never wanted
to let your legs
go anywhere else.
Author’s Notes: This poem is a high-dollar earner. In 2011, it won First Place in the Massachusetts State Poetry Society’s Annual Poets Choice.
In 2012, it won First Place in SPS Studio’s 19th Biannual Poetry Card Contest. Also in 2012, under the title, “Memories,” it was published in The Peace Within You: Calming Thoughts to Help You Slow Down, Let Go, and Discover Your Inner Joy, a gift book published by Blue Mountain Arts.
It’s exciting to find a poem that is so widely accepted and celebrated, but also know this poem also lost or was rejected by 26 different publishers/contests/editors.
Sally's first publication for children is "Where's My Hug?" a lift-the-flap board book published by WorthyKids/Ideals. Buy it for a child you love.