I am learning to love parking lots
to see the beauty –
small scraps of hope
flashes of green holly and red berries
a hint of a crape myrtle in the
tortured trunk and tiny sprouts.
Squirrel, mourning dove, crow,
determined in their
circumscribed islands of soil.
I am learning to love parking lots, to
forgive the harsh word, the
rude gesture, the
impatient insistence of dominance, the
To watch the care as parent reaches for child’s hand,
not judge the car that straddles the line or the
rapid reach for the cell phone and the
peril averted just in time or the
cart full of Fruit Loops and Cheetos.
Or the memory of what grew here before.
This is what is.
The song says we paved paradise.
The deed done,
now cracked, faded stripes,
ghosts of a meadow and creek.
Parking – a
gift? right? privilege? requirement?
Multiculturalism in the
Intersectionality at the intersection.
Saabs and Jeeps and Chevrolets.
We’ll take our diversity in the form of
features we want or
what we can afford.
Do our wheels speak to
one another in accents of the land in which
they were made?
I must learn to love this,
this world here.
Two yellow cars fringe a row of
more mundane shades.
For a moment the eye can dance.
Alice Walker guides us in this place:
live frugally on surprise.
What happens if
you start with expectations low,
Windows down, the
Taco Bell bags
chocolate bar wrappers
gnarled plastic straws.
white faces and brown faces.
Nary a pastel in sight.
Nuns at Wal-mart,
old people buying useful old people things and ice cream.
A man leans against his car, smoking, his
old brown hat angled,
knife case secure on his belt.
not with patience.
Man and car both need a bath.
A woman hesitates.
To carry her coat or not –
what matters most?
Freezing for short minutes
between car and store?
Or the weight of the coat
as she shops?
Zoning, shopping, crime and naps.
It’s all here.
Of us and we of it.
Heat and cold alike radiate,
off in torrents
drains trash and streaks of oil.
This is what we wanted.
This is what we were told we asked for.