In Gainesville once, we took a bus across town
to visit Rebelle’s brother
and played in the fenced back yard
till it was time to go home.
A flood took my shoe, we were stranded
in a parking lot till the rain stopped.
Another day, we drove away
from the hurricane.

In Kearney, the President died.
A fireman came to the door
because my brother was playing with matches.
There was a blizzard.
We drove into the baseball field.

In Bloomington, the house was made of stucco,
just like the little green store in Gainesville.
I could not remember the piano song I had learned in Nebraska.

On Linden Street road, in the blur between
two townships,
a man walked on the moon.
I stood under it and watched his shadow.
Raccoons built a nest in a tree.
Wind changed the shape of everything, cedars streaming north.

In London, I wrote letters,
classmates beat upon my back,
I made a cake wrapped in marzipan.
We ate slices of coconut on the street in Paris.
In Zurich, the water was clean.
We walked through the Olympic village,
Germany still a mystery.
Florence, the golden doors.
Murano, the blown glass.
Water took us there.

Then we came home, and I never wanted to leave.
Mabel is buried in Hudson.
Polly is buried in Leroy.

~ ~ ~

Kathleen Kirk is the author of four poetry chapbooks, most recently Nocturnes (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2012). Her work appears in a number of print and online journals, including Slipstream, Confrontation, Menacing Hedge, and Poetry East. She is the poetry editor for Escape Into Life.