U-Turns-A Sunday Drive Leaves the Country




the world shifts.

Inside that shift

I am in Asia.

I watch families

shop for produce

piled in cardboard boxes

along the side walk.

Scarecrows of corn ears

peer from their boxes

to see if someone comes

to snatch them away.

Sidewalk shop keepers choose

for themselves the curb.

Balanced like tight rope walkers

they show no concern for the

automobiles honking and swerving

behind them.  Intent shoppers sift

through the fresh vegetables and fragrant fruit.

Focused and intense their shopping bags packed,

shoppers turn up the hill for home.

Or so I imagine. Different languages perfume the air-

a scent brought from another place.

To me it seems as if they brought that other home

with them. Perhaps as they unpacked, pieces of distant home

tumbled out into the American air.  Finding fertile soil

the many places these newcomers brought

grew into the patchwork country

we call home.




the world shifts again

and I am in Italy.

Red, green & white stripped

awnings announce it.

People enjoy a

rare warm day by the bay.

No bustle here. People stroll

and talk with moving

hands and mouths.  But from inside

the car they look like mimes

anxious to proclaim meaning.

Outside a tiny restaurant,

diners sit and lean back in their chairs.

I drink in the warm sun and smiling people.

They disappear as the street plunges

roller coaster style down the hill.

It is a straight line to the bay

blue and waiting in the summer sun.





I am worth millions.

Ok maybe not.

But I can pretend as we

park on a crazy narrow street

that twists and twines snake

like in front of us.

A friend is updating his parents

former home.

Navigating the scaffolding

we begin our tour.

By the second floor,

I lose myself and pretend

that I am here for cocktails.

A smooth, fragrant white wine

in hand, I swallow my sweet

and sour shrimp and watch the

yachts practicing for the America’s Cup.

All around them like bothersome flies

speedboats delight in the havoc

of their wakes. Crossing the parallel lines

of wakes, a sedate lady-like ferry  carries passengers

to the other side-that other world across

the bay. That is my world too.

But for now I’m rich and staring

at the multi-million dollar view.

Suddenly crashing,

I realize that even if everyone

I knew pooled their money,

we couldn’t buy this house

or pay the taxes or the maids

or the decorators

or whatever else

it takes to live here.

But it’s free to imagine

the walls finished and filled

with light. I imagine art

and furniture tasteful but unable

to rival the beauty outside the windows.

I leave behind me this world in the clouds

and lean into the man beside me.

We too have a home filled with light

and I imagine the thankfulness we share

filling the ocean air with fragrant delight.

Janice DeRuiter 2013

About Winding Stream Press

Janice DeRuiter Eskridge, M.F.A. is a poet who worked for over a decade as a poet-teacher for California Poets in the Schools. Helen Shoemaker, Ph.D. L.M.F.T. is a university professor who teaches in the areas of child development and counseling. She is also a therapist in private practice.
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