Longitude by Ann Wrayburn

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In August heat, the urge to be misplaced

can find you standing on the sidewalk, disoriented,

holding someone else’s photos by mistake.

Trying to place that cottage, that sandy porch.

Before you know it, the drink’s in your hand,

those are your ankles crossed the railing.

This started years ago on autumn evenings.

Walking down the sidewalk, past windows

newly lit, you watched the figures gather.

The woman in the kitchen, the children at their books.

You set yourself among them, as if the man

had turned by his chair to gesture you inside.

The same impulse makes you want

to walk into the Tuscan landscape

on the museum wall, or marry the hero

of this month’s novel, raise his grateful children.

No use wondering if you were carried off

by gypsies. You know someone’s mislaid

the life you meant to live.

 

Originally published in The Midnight Gardener Chronicles.

 

Ann Wrayburn’s poetry collection, The Midnight Gardener Chronicles, was published in 2015 by Mercury Heartlink. Her poem ‘”Deep Hour” was included in Burning Bright, a collection published by Passager Books in 2011. In 2010 she won both First Prize and Honorable Mention in Arlington County’s Moving Words Poetry Contest. Her work has also appeared in Poet Lore, Potomac Review, and The Federal Poet. Now retired, she lives, occasionally writes, and gardens in Falls Church.

Image: By (unknown) modified by Mcapdevila – http://histo.cat/1/Nova-Guinea-1540.JPG, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19056175

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