Hitching a ride, trusting a partner, marrying the same person three times
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John Brehm’s most recent books are No Day at the Beach, a poetry collection, and The Dharma of Poetry, a book of essays. He lives in Portland, Oregon, where he and his wife, Alice Boyd, lead mindfulness retreats that explore poetry as a spiritual practice.
The red hair and freckles, puffy cheeks / and constant perspiration amplified / his otherness. No one spoke to him. / But why do I see his face so clearly now, / the fear and loneliness in his eyes? / The faces of all the others I’ve forgotten.
— from “Wanting Not Wanting” | I wish I didn’t / want things / to be other / than they are
Waiting for the poetry reading / to get started, I turn around / to apologize to the man / sitting diagonally behind me / for blocking his view.
Often I wonder: / Is the earth trying to get / rid of us, shake us off, / drown us, scorch us / to nothingness?
Fourth day / of snow / freezing rain / huge / avalanches / of wind
It’s no day at the beach / being me, I said. / It’s no walk / in the park. / I can see that, / she said.
Just under the dairy / farm’s hayloft, / a four-day-old calf, / big, soft, earth- / colored eyes, / looked exhausted, / slightly affronted