Filling My Water Bottle at Walgreen’s
There are no lines, no buckets, no chatter
of daily gossip, no long dresses or vibrant
colors swirling in the wind, no baskets
balanced on heads, no children waiting
their turns while playing made up games,
no men with rifles or missiles, no animals
waiting for water, no chickens cackling,
no feet caked with dust,
no eyes staring into the long horizon, rheumy, blank,
no old women with lesions and old men with bent backs,
no place to sit, no story left to tell for who listens
anymore to how they took daughters and raped…
words running like overflow onto river banks, no women
nodding, knowing, having known the darkness.
No wails when done is done and done
in front of them.
No tongue-less sons, no sons left.
No effort to untangle a mangled day.
No flies swirling that defy a swat.
The no and no and no that gets lost in
the arc of water, gurgling, filling my water bottle.
The water is cold and clean, delicious and free.
We sit on the stoop.
It’s too hot to do anything
else except to watch
Nelson jumping rope,
the girls swinging
all the way to
stars we can’t name,
dream on anyway.
brings us summer heaven:
She sits, says little,
smiles at her teenage son
who loves the young
kids on the block.
She doesn’t know
that in a week
neighbors will be late
to see Nelson off
first in his family
to go to war
not one of us
how we will
line the still summer
for his return.
Sandra McGarry is a former elementary school teacher who resides in Colorado. She loves the mountains but gives more preference to the ocean having grown up in the east. She has published in Pilgrimage and Colorado Life Magazine.
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