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I am waiting///I am sitting, waiting
until 6 or 6:30 when he should call
when his bus arrives & he will walk
to the Pumphouse Restaurant, the Pub where
our favorite bartender works.
His Mother's mother came here
from Mayo County Ireland
like Dad's father's mother did
& her last name was Mayo so there should be many
family buried there & we all intend to go one day
I am waiting to go to Ireland with my husband
& our favorite bartender & our dearest friends
& we are waiting for our ships to come in . . .

I remember a wonderful lady from another
life; it seems another life but was only
a different marriage & the marriage was dreadful
but so many people I met in it were truly amazing
& this lady sat on the shore of an island called Waa,
off Mombasa in Kenya, Africa
& she repeated over & over, slowly drinking from a coconut hull
rum & fruit juice & beautiful unforgotten frangipani scents
wove around her head & she was not lovely but she was
truly amazing, with a sharp nose & dark skin & small bird eyes
which stared out at the horizon, while she talked & kept
saying over & over, this is all I remember When my ship comes in . .
When my ship comes in . . .
& my mother-in-law who was
just like Edward G. Robinson, rough & strong but small, told her
Jesus Christ, your ship has come in! This is your ship, get on board!

That mother in law died at age 52 & I thought:
Oh well, she lived a long life
but now I am 54 & I am waiting
I am waiting to finish cooking dinner
so it doesn't get cold

I am waiting to hear from my dear friend
to make sure she hasn't committed suicide
because we 3 have promised we won't
but sometimes circumstances are beyond
our control & so we are waiting to hear from her.

We are still waiting for clocks to move faster
so we can get somewhere & where, where is it?
At work today, a woman hollered "Come on, 3:00!"
& we realized there was an hour left to go
& it seemed like 200 years, with brain damaged
students screaming
but it was a calm day
for me

I don't know why, it was just calm like that day
when I was 27 & walked down to the volcanic
cave where ocean water was pure & you could see
deep, to the white sandy bottom
& a smiling Hutu man asked, gesturing, if I'd like
to get onboard & he was paddling a canoe,
it looked burned out from a palm tree
& not thinking, I stepped in---

He could have paddled all the way to Goa, India
where my present husband then unmet was living.
He could have been caught in a sudden storm, we
might have capsized . . . but at that moment,
I wasn't waiting, I really wasn't doing anything at all.
The sea was full & everything was color, color!

My skin adored the waves, my hair was wet & long,
my legs hung over the sides of a rough log boat
& I pretended not to hear someone onshore, shouting
something about Danger! It made no difference to me
that day in Kenya, on an island called Waa off the coast
of Mombasa, in Kenya, Africa . . .

dixie j'elder



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