Paradise

 

I have lived

on the edge of paradise—

once in a small beach town

where you could smell

if not see, the ocean from every street,

walk to the beach from any part of town,

not wear shoes for days.

And later,

in an even smaller town

with only three side streets,

one gas station and seven bars,

mountain peaks so close

it looked as if you could touch

their smooth granite sides,

run your hand down

the soft curves of the forests

in their crevices.

And when you came out of the drugstore

with your aspirin or band-aids

you might see a single bison

staring at you, breathing white puffs

into the morning air

or a prong-horned antelope grazing

a few feet from where you parked your car

by the laundromat.

“You’re so lucky to actually live here!”

the tourists would say, their eyes shining.

Now I live in a place

surrounded by farms and  chickenhouses

where I sometimes have to stop my car

and wait, while dairy cows are escorted

across the road to milking barns.

No tourists here, no one

to tell me I’m lucky

except the voice in my head that says

you’re so lucky

to be alive, after the cancer,

the hospitals and doctors,

after waiting so many hours

in small curtained rooms

with sinks and needles,

stunned and mute.

And now a tourist myself

in a life I almost lost,

I walk outside

with my black and white dog,

move the sheep through the pasture,

watch the wind blow

through the tops of the pine trees,

look at the faces of my sheep

see the questioning look in their eyes

and the patience.

 

Copyright 2009 Ina Ray Scrocco

Ina Ray Scrocco lives in Two Rock. She is an award-winning poet from Sonoma County who has been published in several  anthologies, and is presently working on an upcoming book of poetry.  Her work has appeared in The Redbook, Brief Encounter and the Napa College “Conference ‘81” collection, among others.   She has given numerous readings in the area at Santa Rosa Junior College, Sonoma State University, Cinnabar Theatre, Copperfield’s Books, and the Vallejo Ferry Theatre in Sausalito.

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