~This poem was previously published in Nightsun (2007).
~Selected by Clara Jane Hallar, Assistant Editor (Poetry)
Never Enough Time
after Seamus Heaney
Therefore don’t drive across Arkansas on the Interstate
but take one of the small meandering two-lanes
through the Ozarks. Park your car once in a while
and step out into the persistent deciduous forest.
Breathe in the wild mint and sassafras, notice
the way the sky’s blue seems bluer against
all that green. And when one of the small
old towns slows you down to twenty-five or thirty,
let the middle-aged woman smiling at the pump
save you any trouble. Answer her sister at the register
who’ll ask where you’re headed, where you’re from.
And if you happen into Stone County, please come
to my house, any local will give you directions,
though you’ll have to climb the last half-mile
up the rocky hill by foot. Knock on the unlocked door
or go out back, find me weeding beans or tomatoes.
After a stroll through the garden, I’ll make us some tea.
And together we’ll pass at least a couple of hours.
You can afford them. Do you truly believe
you have anyplace better to go?