Fork it she used to say
“Another one bites the dust”
when a neighbor couple broke up-
something like that,
and one time way up in the mountains
she drove the whole way on the back road
with her top off
and I was cringing at her
trying not to look at
her super small breasts and
muscled arms with pale freckles.
Luckily she put her blouse back on
when we got to the paved road.
I was always watching, standing back, observing.
I never understood how anybody could
leave their kids
to go travel around the world.
But she was a nurse
and not even her own son could stop her
from being important.
Maybe she was looking for a new man.
One time, she thought she found one
But it didn’t work out.
She had been to Nepal, Honduras, Guatemala,
all over the place
working as an ER nurse.
I was a townie,
worked the county fairs, the crops, the markets,
and delivered mail.
I didn’t venture out much,
every creekside, each bend in the road,
and all the sacred groves from Hopland to Dos Rios,
anticipating a late Spring rain
when it was too early to put in tomatoes,
and the soft scent of manzanita blossoms
bounced up from Red Hill.
I had to make rent and…
wouldn’t you miss your children?
She died ten years later.
© copyright 2014 poetry and photography by Susan E. Rowland