She hasn’t finished.
And when you shift in your seats
or tap your feet
mine want to stomp them still.
Not everyone’s a poet of course,
the way not everyone tastes
the soup-of-the-day at the café
and wishes for less oregano.
Three more stanzas, then you’re free
to slip into coatsleeves,
turn phones back on,
hoist backpack strap on shoulder.
One more sip of her coffee, then
water to rinse acid from her teeth.
This is where it gets good.
Sometimes things are
better at the end.
I’m supposed to be
in charge of time, but
I just want to let her speak and speak
I could listen to her all day.
My mother’s voice used to drone
on long car rides—
what she thought were life lessons, but
which TV writers did better.
Now every other woman’s voice is
like tropical fruit in January—
like blood orange, pineapple, and
pomegranate arils on a chilled
Women, like murmurations, sync
black pinpoint softness into
In my car I speak to myself
and still I don’t listen.
A lifetime Ohioan, Kerry Trautman is a founder of ToledoPoet.com and the “Toledo Poetry Museum” page on Facebook, both of which promote Northwest Ohio poetry events. She is a poetry editor for the journal Red Fez, and her work has appeared in various anthologies and journals, including Slippery Elm, Free State Review, The Fourth River, Paper & Ink, Midwestern Gothic, and Gasconade Review. Kerry’s poetry books are Things That Come in Boxes (King Craft Press 2012,) To Have Hoped (Finishing Line Press 2015,) Artifacts (NightBallet Press 2017,) and To be Nonchalantly Alive(Kelsay Books 2020.)
image: Kevin Sampsell is the publisher of Future Tense Books in Portland, Oregon. He’s also the co-curator and founder of Sharp Hands Gallery, an online showcase for international collage art. His book of collages and poems, I Made an Accident, will be published by Clash Books in 2022.