A long-time resident of Mill Valley, California, I live with my 13 year-old son, a magic cat named Clive, and rescue dog, Rasco Roon. I am the author of three creative writing adventure books from Shambhala Publications. The newest in the series, WRITE BACK SOON! Adventures in Letter Writing, is forthcoming in September. My poems have been published in Ploughshares, Poetry East, Rattle, and elsewhere and featured on Poetry Daily. My collection SISTER was published by Conflux Press in 2004. www.karenbenke.com
Editor's Note: This poem really touches me. Thanks so
much to the author for letting me reprint is in Verse-Virtual.
I tell my son I wish I didn’t have to go to work today
and he says he wishes he didn’t have to go to school.
He’s tired of darkening in right answer bubbles.
I ask what we’d do if we could play hooky and he says
we’d go through the tunnel and pick up Nana Friday,
wondering if people who died can come too.
You know, like Grandpa Don and Auntie Toots?
So we pile into the VW and veer over the center line
of what reality doesn’t allow. I accelerate past the turn off
to his school, my father cautioning me to slow down
while my aunt sings a Lou Rawls song she knew.
Traveling an unnamed highway of light,
no longer concerned about getting anywhere on time,
we pass around baggies of sliced apples and almonds,
my father nodding his handsome face at the grandson
he never knew who wants details about where he’s been.
So I lean in to listen--Oh, pretty much everywhere, Angel,
he assures, explaining there aren’t any tests or distance
where he is now. You just love who you love.
And that’s the right answer to everything.
-originally published in Rattle
©2015 Karen Benke