Lydia, My Waitress, Serves Me Coffee

as I tell her everything
outside this diner window used to be farmland,

not much more than a crossroad to some other place
people traveled to, like a 1930s sepia photograph

of dust-blown dreams. Now, row after row
of cardboard subdivisions, a florist shop, a Shell station,

SunTrust Bank. I imagine a life with less complications,
no broken marriages lining the horizon like fence posts,

no love affairs hidden behind drawn curtains,
pee-wee baseball, soccer, ballet classes, chess lessons,

a math center teaching children what they don’t learn in school
or home. A few churches. She refills my cup


I have always had a go-bag
packed and ready, stashed

under my bed, tucked away
in the deepest corner of a closet.

Over the years I’ve changed
what’s in it, how much money

I’d need to stay gone forever
from her or anyone else or any place

with too much snow in April
or too much hot in October

or too much traffic all the time, or just an itch,
and, now, the go-bag is ready again.

At times, my clothes no longer fit.
Once a year, I rummage through

The Hunter Recovers In North Georgia

The morning hovers darkest in the mind, bone-chilled
from camping in a tree stand since five, I walked

the woods to track whatever fresh mud-digs I found
kicked up in the feather snow, to find a path to all things

that happened last year. I can’t remember
if I told my father I was sorry or that I loved him

before the end, but if I had the chance again,
I’d say, I loved him. For several hours

I admired what was not the city, rambling
aimlessly until hearing two bucks clacking racks