Monday, April 8, 2019

Life Can Be a Dream by Susan Carlson

My sister dreams of a life in Montana,
imagining a state where people can rest
above ground because she longs to rest
below. I dream that she might make it
there, as a waitress maybe, or a cashier –
if the tills in Montana are still the old fashioned kind,
each key bearing its value on a smooth button face
waiting to be pressed down at the sound
of the happy cash bell while Montana coffee
rests still and dark in a full bellied pot –
no cappuccinos, no computerized receipts.
Sometimes I think I see her there, pink
in her polyester dress, pockets along each hip
where she drops tips, gauges their weight
moving from kitchen to counter to cowboy hat
before heading home to smoke alone
on her wooden porch, to watch the Montana sun
drop gold as it pinks down dark. It may not sound
like much, our dream – how, at a minimum
she wants enough real estate to sit quietly at the end
of another day, and me – I want so much
to be free of her phone call, the one that always
comes, that always leaves me wondering
if I said enough to keep her on the line,
bought enough time for her paltry sun
to find another way to set.

Susan Carlson lives, works, and writes in southeastern Michigan. She has attended workshops including Tin House, the Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference, and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. Her poems have appeared in Your Impossible Voice, Pretty Owl Poetry, The Literary Nest, The Other Journal, and Typishly, among other journals.