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Words (The New Farmer's Almanac, 2021)

Rob Jackson
New Farmer's Almanac
Journal Volume/Pages: 
Vol. V: 270



Knowing what to say is like the rain
that comes when it wants, then vanishes for days,
or like a ship that sails into port at last;
people celebrate its return with toasts and speeches,
knowing it will leave again.

Sometimes my words come easily.

I’m as steady as an anchor
on the evening news whose perfect sentences
float off in well-formed balloons
once the camera light turns red.

At other times the light turns red
and I can only screech
to a halt in my car, drowning in silence.
A few feet away, a homeless person
grips a scrap of cardboard,
trying to catch my eye: “Please help.”
Silent, staring awkwardly ahead,
I look for change,
a sign of ships or rain
on the horizon.