it doesn’t just arrive on your doorstep, delivered
in the baby hours of the day
by a tired man, truck purring in the road
idling away, a life
the sidewalks here are dirty.
that people live here, and dogs—but they know more, always do.
things breathe here,
are they alive
i mean really—not just inhaling,
i have to go out there, if i want it
find my mascara first, my lipstick, put on my walking shoes, the left sole—cracked.
gone—at least a season, gone
it lets the water in when it rains, and after
when it finally stops
even if i chose to avoid the puddles—i mean, who does that?
even then, my foot gets wet
there is no pleasure in this—
not even i can join those dots.
all the way
up the hill i have to go, past the flat with the man who shouts things at me,
—shouts at any woman who dares to be alive on this street
who does that, though
i pretend i don’t hear him, i know how to block my ears
what i don’t hear, doesn’t have my name
can’t own me
it doesn’t just follow you, you know—
find you where you are
when i walk through the gate, to where it begins—the green
they call it a nature reserve, the sign says this
i believe it, but
it isn’t right there where you
would expect it to be, where they told you it would be
at the entrance—how desperate are you
there are empty cans, bottles, cigarette butts, signs
of pleasure—the nights are dark up here, they hide a lot
can be found, if
you can pay the price
or want to.
have to walk a way further, it isn’t that easy, have to
put my ear to the ground, my hands flat
on the earth, i have to sniff it out like water
i have known how to do this
ever since i was young,
ever since i realised
could eat it, would happily
if given half a chance, if
you let it
bread on the hills, i dig for it
hands filthy, i fill my plate
this is how it is.
don’t be fooled.
it doesn’t just walk into your life.
no matter how much you want it.
you have to dig.
— hope | did you think that it just finds me?
© Liezel Graham 2020.
Image by Faris Mohammed.