“Things are too much in the air, for me.
I do not feel grounded, even though
I live on only the second floor,” she says.

I wonder what she means. Myself, I possess a condo
Fourteen stories up with a good amount of sky
Outside my main room picture window

And get in the elevator to go to work in the early morning
And on returning after the long busy workday, get in again
To ride it up. (I am young and healthy and could take

The stairway down in an emergency.) Well, she is old.
I have known her for five years now, and like her. But I cannot
Comprehend what she is saying – though she has stated it before,

That she would prefer to go in and out the front door of a cottage
Level with earth, with chickens scratching the dirt, a red-combed
Rooster chuckling to himself, keeping watch over his little flock.

And confided: “When I was a girl in Shreveport, in the house
Next to ours there lived a nice Catholic widow named Mrs. Sanders
Who raised Buff Orpingtons in her backyard.”

Perhaps if some day I find myself old, I will get
What my friend means. Now I smile vacuously
And wait for her to speak of non-concerns.

Jonathan Bracker’s poems appear in The New Yorker, Poetry Northwest, other periodicals; and in seven collections including Concerning Poetry: Poems About Poetry. He is the editor of Bright Cages: The Selected Poems Of Christopher Morley; co-author with Mark Wallach of Christopher Morley; and editor of A Little Patch Of Shepherd’s-Thyme: Prose Passages of Thomas Hardy Arranged As Verse.