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
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.
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