Jul/Aug 2020  •   Poetry


by Carol Barrett


Loneliness is wild please do not pursue when it runs do not feed either —Jamie Houghton

Tonight I open Sailing Alone around the Room by Billy Collins. I pour eight or ten mini carrots into a wooden bowl. I pull myself under a fleece blanket beside a mocha coffee I didn't finish this morning that I will drink cold, since it goes with the carrots. My brother's name is also Billy, but nobody calls him that now that his red beard is prematurely gray. Imagine keeping a name like Billy all the way to the poet laureate's post! I read his poems, marvel at how he takes stock of the world, snowy or rainy or somewhere on the golden cusp of greatness.

Doing something productive tonight distracts me from watching the clock to see how close it is to the 11:07 ETA, much better than running the washer with only one towel because it's good to have clean towels. Dishes, on the other hand, can wait until there's spaghetti sauce worth a tumbler of Cascade. Pricey! Reminds me of that shampoo when I was a kid—liquid emerald, Prell. I got called out for using it in Spirit Lake, polluting the snow melt with suds, after hiking trails through Douglas Fir and tiny baby cones of cedar.

No, tonight I will make something of myself. The friend I was to pick up at the airport cancelled the rendezvous, as another friend had come along, he would catch a ride with her. She too has a funny name, Duffy, which makes her seem dim-witted, but she's not. She's figured how to finagle an invitation to stay at his place. They will probably use a lot of Prell tonight, disposing of the burden of travel. And I will eat hard carrots with Billy, who says he wants to come back as a dog, and sip my cold mocha like it's a new drink just hitting the open market.