I didn’t want to leave my dorm room
and knew I soon would. It was late April.
In water glasses from the dining hall,
I was forcing forsythia, breathing in
its yellow, grassy, no-scent, looking up
from Dubliners at blossoms rioting in
Upstate’s late winter greys and browns,
where it could snow in May and I could
pretend I didn’t have to go home to see
the reruns of my parents’ thousand
disappointments: the fury of my mother’s
heartbroken jokes, my father’s heavy step
past her, the screen door’s metallic
slap as he carried his pitcher of martinis
outside. Slushy rain ticked my windows.
Down home, eye-stinging green pollen
already dusted the patio. On the wobbly
oak table I’d just bought at auction, a few
tiny blooms had dropped overnight. Tinier
leaves were already growing in. Soon,
I’d pull all my posters down, and jam the
table in the back seat of my mother’s Dodge.
Mom would be chipper; she loved taking
the five-hour drive up and back—away
from my father. Dreading the finals I knew
I’d do fine on, I wanted only the click of ice
needling glass on an endless, shadowless
afternoon. I didn’t even want to turn the page.
Christine Potter is a poet and writer from the Hudson River Valley. Her poems have been in Rattle, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, and she got to write the July 4th poem for ABC Radio News a couple of years back–and perform it, which was fun. She is a can of ham.
© 2023, Christine Potter