By Jeannie Whitlock 

Moving Day

When a radish is ready,
It pushes its own head out of the earth.
You tug it gently
And knock off the dirt on a cucumber frame.
Its nude roots splay,

At last
The last of our furniture
Lumbered off,
Gone as the brachiosaur.
Our ex-house is a hermit crab’s shell.
Our house in Illinois – well,
One night I dreamed
A dinner party, dishes clanking, chicken roasting,
Somebody laughing by the fire but
One night it reeked of feral cats
And I woke with the sense of claws in my feet,
So we’ll see. Only,
Before death renders us just good friends,
I was hoping to build a home here with you.
Anything could do – A retired Metra –
We’d spread our kantha on vinyl benches,
Pry the doors open each morning
And clamber the subway ladder to sun;
A tent on a tawny mountain:
We’d notify each other when rolling over,

Memorize the moon,
Wake to woodpeckers,
Raise our children to wade, freeze,
Then snake out a harpoon;
But mostly, I picture –
And this puzzles me, because it’s awfully domesticated –
A slab of plywood nailed between two strong branches
In the maple out back,
A scramble to school
In time for the drop-off chat,
Neighborlings ringing the doorbell in floaties, demanding our kids;
A cucumber frame or two.



New Buffalo, MI

A lake this big becomes ocean to us.
We stalk from its mouth
The mud-slick creek like the Amazon
Poison-ivy edged and brown in the sun,
Past turtles to the dune we mustn’t touch.

There are no jaguars but
There is Seven-Layer Bean Dip
And Klondike Bars, Frisbee in the yard,
And the berries we picked lolling blue,
Fat-bellied in our palms. A town this small
Becomes universe to us. Who needs
More than startled deer at dawn
And a million flitting fireflies
At dusk?

is a poet and travel writer based in Illinois.