at least half the nights now, the sun takes her heat with her when she goes, a sure sign that it is late august. we’re closing in on fall, and the most sensitive leaves are turning color already. with fall comes the beginning of school — the chaos of homework and sports schedules, the thick clumsiness of early morning, meals on the run. this fall, it’s not just the boys who are heading back to school. i’ve finally taken the plunge into an MFA program.
a warm august evening on willett street. one of my neighbors asks what i’m reading. before i can answer, his partner tells him, she’s not reading. she’s writing. she’s a poet. i tilt my head as far back as it goes and admire the crooked line against the sky made by roofs of the brownstones and the church on the corner. it is the border between the positive and negative spaces. a metaphor, if ever there were one.
as one of the “women poets of willett street,” i featured at poets in the park last night. this 4- or 5-part series (saturdays in july) is one of my favorite local poetry events. and now, since i live on washington park, it’s a few steps from my door. though i read other work, i focused my reading on poems set in downtown albany, including a couple new ones, like the one below. i wrote it after the boys and i decided to be tourists in our own city, and so we booked a tour with the albany aquaducks on the company’s final weekend of doing business locally.
lean into as many first kisses as it takes: / the stoop where lips meet at 2 a.m. belongs to you, / as does the empty sidewalk and the soft orange / halo around the street lamp. the quiet is yours, / as well, along with the strange shadow / of a tree on your neighbor’s front door
along side the struggles, there have been many beautiful moments, as well, of course. i have greeted them quietly. i have accepted them and made note of them. i have taken some of them to bed. i have written some poems about them. i have photographed them from many angles. but i haven’t celebrated. only recently, even, have i started to feel more comfortable with the idea of celebrating.
the boys love walking in the park. even though they are country boys and boys who’ve explored their mama’s stompin’ grounds in the maine woods, they still love downtown albany’s washington park. it’s their front yard when they’re with me.
in addition to having some time with the boys this weekend, i had lots of opportunity to enjoy my neighborhood, which hosted two major festivals: saturday’s art on lark (sleepy vendor pictured above) and sunday’s pridefest and parade (photos posted on facebook). i am in love with my apartment, which i call my happy place. and i am in love with the little pocket of downtown albany it crouches inside of.