...why did I write this while sitting out in the woods? You'd think I would have written one of those aw-gee-nature poems. But no. Here's Esther. I look forward to your feedback!
TAKING JUSTICE HOME
Some day soon I will go back
to that park in Vancouver where
Esther lives comfortably inside
the curve of an old concrete sewer pipe.
She introduced herself as Esther, once,
but I dreamt the night before
I would meet the concept of justice
in vagrant form, so I take everything
Esther does literally and want to know
why she insists upon carrying
a chopping knife tied to the inside
of her shabby cotton jacket.
Justice needs no weapon, in my opinion,
but Esther says she must be prepared
to do battle with Christ when the day
comes because she has lived
a nasty, blackened sort of life
and she refuses, as every lady should,
to go to hell willingly. She is also afraid
of rapists and jazz musicians
who might wander off the beaten path
one night after a performance thick with pills.
Esther used to be married
and her teeth are worn down
from keeping the ring in her mouth
all these years, years she’s spent suffering
from nightmares and hallucinations
of an adorable brick house opening
its front door to swallow her with
the pop of a doorbell. Esther is justice
and she believes strongly in sleeping
beneath a hanging bouquet of skunk cabbage
to ward off drunk artists. Some day soon
I will go back to fetch Esther, before
the sewer pipes are crushed and remodeled.
I’ll take her home like a box
of closed-eye kittens and feed her
nothing but honey and raw fish,
slip it under the bedroom door
with a stack of notebook paper
and my father’s lucky ballpoint pen.