by Ron Padgett


Again I slid up over the horizon
and the lights of Tulsa spread flat out before me.
“Ah, there you are,” I said,
“like a porch light left on
for almost thirty years.”

“Don’t get carried away,
Ron. Yes, the lights are on for you and anyone
else who wants to rush toward me in a stream of light,”
the awakened city said, “but I knew
it was you. Who else would talk to me like this?”
I said, “There always was this special thing between us,

“Between you and me,
not between me and you. You’re like all the rest,
you think you’re the only one to come along, that
I was made for you.”

“I know, Tulsa, but
remember, I was an only child.”

“I know, Ron, but
you’re not a child now, so why act like one?
Why don’t you settle back and take a deep, long look
at things the way they are? Why not just let go
of your love-hate thing with me? Do you really need
this longing and regret and so much useless anger?”

“But what’ll I have of the me who was a little boy?”
“Whatever you already have, no more, no less,”
the voice said evenly.

Suddenly I cried
into the dark, “Where’s your mouth?”
“You don’t know? It’s all around you–”
I was pulling
into the driveway where I used to live
“–it’s your skin”
and opened my eyes and was
here, in New York, typing these lines.

Ron Padgett is a poet born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He currently resides in New York.