Marc Swan’s poems have recently been published or are forthcoming in Sanskrit, Crannóg, Mudfish, Gargoyle, Nerve Cowboy, Nuclear Impact Anthology, Coal City Review, among others. He lives with his wife Dd in Portland Maine.
When we arrive a fluffy brown cat
dives out the front window of a red Golf.
The lady with the garden hose,
tee shirt, short shorts, bright green Nikes,
long auburn hair tied back
offers us a beer,
gives a tour of the property,
She’s maybe forty,
college grad living in a wooded glen above a lake
with two cats,
a fresh supply of Heinekens
and a vision of living off the grid.
You’re already there my dear
and it’s clear that’s where you belong.
She’s well traveled, a teacher of special needs kids,
looking for that next path to nirvana.
She seems solid in a hip sort of way.
Later in town we hear she’s the ex
of the local bluesman—pedal steel no less.
For the past five years
he jammed most Friday and Saturday nights
at The Red Herring,
now an alcoholic on the road searching
for his own brand of enlightenment.
In another era they would’ve been called hippies,
in this setting maybe eccentric. A crow lands
on a nearby branch, shifts around,
shits directly on the ground—
his back to me, a solitary audience,
unafraid, in charge of whatever the day brings.
Four takes, one word, easy to remember.