I could be
that ordinary girl, they raised me to convince people
with a closet full of blouses,
a good career, and
heaps of college debt I chip away at
Dishes in the cupboard, a neat set
I received as a wedding gift;
plants on the window sill and a cat
whose box I dutifully scoop
in a room no one uses.
I could collect coupons
and pebbles from the beach
and get together with the neighbors
on warm saturdays
to have a beer on the deck
and watch the sun set as the children chase each other
across the neatly manicured lawn.
I could be-
I even aimed to be,
but along to the path to Great Ordinary Achievment
I saw a light through the trees.
I cannot convince people
that I am anything resembling ordinary.
I’ve given up trying.
My suitcase holds a homemade kilt,
patched together with leather scraps
and a rabbit pelt,
a couple of shirts, one black,
one intricately patterned in green and gold and blue;
I do not work for money,
but for my family,
teaching my children what truly matters
outside the constraints of waxed tile floors
and desks attached to the seats;
my college debt will be forgiven
in eleven more years, because I talk to the right institution
without ever giving them a penny-
they know I don’t have any to spare and I’m grateful for our understanding.
I own two pink plates and bowls,
and two of each in blue,
two tin cups
and a box of plastic flatware that were not
gifts from the zero guests in attendance
at the courthouse the day
my beaming boyfriend
Became my glowing husband.
The windows in the bus
have no sills
and my treasures live in a box
with a bronze clasp, and the children speak in hushed voices
every time I pull it out
to rifle through the polished stones and four leaf clovers.
The dog prefers to wander
and grows morose between four walls.
She craves the feeling of moss and leaves beneath her paws,
the wind singing in her ears as she races
to the stream’s edge to drink
with her feet in the water.
I collect road kill
and draw pictures upon,
or make wind chimes and hair ornaments of their bones
that they might live again
rather than be dumped in a city disposal site
far from the cries of their kin.
We get together with our brothers and sisters of the road
for cheap booze and shitty liquor
and shoot off fireworks under the bridge
or gather around a pit, warm and bright
and eat day old bread and beans from the can,
as the children dance wildly
in the moonlight to the sounds of the mandolin,
the guitar, maybe a kazoo
and the rise of fall of voices and laughter
through the moonlit wood,
some well meaning young lady pauses on the path
unbuttoning her collar and wondering
where the flickering light creeping into her line of her sight,
and the drifting, jaunty music
off the beaten path;
this life is beautiful
and anything but ordinary.