{Happy as a German with a Beer}

Happy as a bratwurst and a German beer.
Happy as a shuka in the shade.
Happy as a shuka by a river.
Happy as a found water bottle.
Happy as an under construction fountain.
Happy as a bridge with locks.
Happy as a free plate of pasta.
Happy as an astronomy student.
Happy as a gin and tonic.
Happy as a game of gin.
Happy as a hand to hold.
Happy as a book to read.
Happy as a football game.
Happy as a drunk man sitting on a table.
Happy as an apple.
Happy as an unbitten fingernail.
Happy as a setting sun on a church.
Happy as a singing rower.
Happy as a forest 50 km outside the city.
Happy as a park on a hill.
Happy as an old cemetery.
Happy as a park to nap in.
Happy as a breath in a church.
Happy as a quiet laugh.
Happy as a comfortable pillow.
Happy as a 7:30 alarm.
Happy as an echo in the valley.
Happy as a crawdad among the stones.
Happy as a wild cherry.
Happy as two kids on a train.
Happy as you and me.

{A Picture}

In the early days of my Facebook and my life in Nairobi,
I posted a picture with the caption,
“I found my twin in Africa.”

The picture, taken on my electric blue iPod, shows
my torso reflected in the glass
of the bus window.

My hair is long and wavy and frizzy in a way
that I usually disliked.
I’m wearing a grey v-neck shirt that was always too thin,
but I’m smiling like it had been a good morning and
I’m willing to believe that it was.

A few days ago, wet from lake water,
I stand in front of the bathroom mirror with a
smile on my face, my hair now short.

Someone told me once that we wouldn’t recognize
a clone of ourselves walking down the street.
Our minds are so addled and our vision so blurred that
we cannot see
the material characteristics of our own material bodies.

What I’m meaning to say is this:
One day, I want to see my face
the way I see your face.

A painting and a picture,
just as you are.

Your teeth, just as they are.
Your eyelashes, just as they are.
Your cheeks, just as they are.

All of it, just so.

{Eight o’ Clock on a Friday Night}

De Stek, Lelystad, Netherlands
June 2018

Renee walks in and smiles at me, humming,
one sleeve of her dark maroon shirt
rolled up over one shoulder.
Her mouth turns in confusion,
forgetting what she came for, then
Ah yes,
she nods.

As she retrieves a bowl, she says,
I’ve begun singing this old activist song,
from International Women’s Day.
I look at her, my eyebrows raised,
but she doesn’t say anything more.

She walks out the door, singing, and I hear her
pass through the garden and then
her voice fades.

The cork pot holders, four of them,
lay abandoned on the table and
the pitchers of water are half full.
I finish washing the dishes and laugh a little
at myself, stacking the dripping
pots and plates and plastic precariously.

To be clear,
I don’t know where this poem is going
or where it came from.
Only that Renee began singing and I saw
the words and I
obeyed their call,
like a voice floating through the garden.