Saturday, April 12, 2008


Writing Boston

At first there is no reason
to describe
a vacation in Boston,
no reason to recite lists of dishes
served at dusk
and carefully recorded in your notebook:
strip steak
artichoke hearts
tangerine flan.

No reason to relate a meal devoured
across from your brother
in a strange but familiar town
you lived in for just two years
(he says it like that, just…)

You try to forge stories from meals and memories,
and you drag him to that theater
with your name carved in the seat
and the magician’s dirty yellow robe
under plexiglass in the lobby.

But no amount of sitting
on the public garden bench
by the white gazebo
can transport you back
to those two years,
place the subway card in the reader,
conjure the smell of beer and newspaper
for the cuff of your sweater.

On the plane ride home, though,
storyless as a shopping list,
you think about tangerine flan
and waking up
on your brother’s busted air mattress
to children in blue hoodies
suspended on jungle gym bars.

Then suddenly you reach up
to push the tiny round button
with the light bulb in the center,
flounder for a pen
because you’ve remembered
the little blonde girl
with a crooked smile
who stood at the fence with a stick,
peeling back the layers
of leaf and stem
like so many words.


Cole said...

Boston at last
and the plane's touching down;
The hostess is handing
the hot towels around...

Nice poem, Bagel.

Summer said...

I enjoy reading your poetry. Keep it coming. I love Boston. Did you know I lived there until I was 4?

Katie said...

I really like this, Shelly. Thanks for sharing.

Ann Reese said...

Shelly, I was hoping you would write about your trip, what a great way to do it! You really are such a talented writer. Thank you for sharing with us. I love this blog!

Nathan said...

How about a posting about your husband's softball team and their AWESOME Web site?!?!?