by Dayna Clemens

Maria Was Here

As long as I can remember, I’ve walked this beat,
selling a solid bottom line
and holding out for quitting time.
A show of hands for getting blotto in the back seat?
Sober Up and Grow Up meets
Wednesdays at Calvary Episcopal
and Tom will give you his number
if you need it. He knows we are dumber
than we think we are and liable
to harden around our most favorite foible

like cement around MARIA WAS HERE, in the unobserved present,
whose past is the worker’s well-poured sidewalk,
whose future is ossified eternally — or until
the next truck turns hypnotically around the corner —
into a state of errancy.

I’ve lived here as long as I can remember
and so have my friends. Some weekends
we make amends from the comfort
of the campground and the barbecue pit,
visiting, spitting into the fire to hear it sizzle.
Little by little, we settle in for the show.
No one is more surprised than I am
when the white robes really do drop in
on the lot of us, the whole errant tribe,
for some humble pie in the firelight.


Dayna Clemens lives and writes with her husband, Mark, in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. She has spent the last three years as a validation engineer, testing large automated machinery. Look for her upcoming piece on Raymond Chandler and film noir in Books and Culture and her poetry in Bird’s Thumb magazine.




Photo Credit: Visitor7 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


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