the bookmobile


by Joyce Sutphen

I spend part of my childhood waiting
for the Sterns County Bookmobile.
When it comes to town, it makes a
U-turn in front of the grade school and
glides into its place under the elms.

It is a natural wonder of late
afternoon. I try to imagine Dante,
William Faulkner, and Emily Dickinson
traveling down a double lane highway
together, country-western on the radio.

Even when it arrives, I have to wait.
The librarian is busy, getting out
the inky pad and the lined cards.
I pace back and forth in the line,
hungry for the fresh bread of the page,

because I need something that will tell me
what I am; I want to catch a book,
clear as a one-way ticket, to Paris,
to London, to anywhere.

Joyce Sutphen, “Bookmobile” from Coming Back to the Body. Copyright © 2000 by Joyce Sutphen. Used by permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf Holy Cow! Press,

how we ended up together


the summer of 1988: Jeanne and Don


How We Ended Up Together
by Joyce Sutphen
He was good in an emergency, calm
in the middle of a storm. Accidents
didn’t surprise him; he was always
ready for whatever came along. You
could count on him; you could make
a deal and he would keep it, even if you
couldn’t. His deals were impossible;
his deals were meant to make you fail,
and failing you found yourself in some
sort of emergency, someplace you didn’t
want to be, and he was good at getting
you back to the ground, back to your feet.
I chose him for what he could not give me,
and he chose me because I would not ask
until I was desperate and only he could help.
Joyce Sutphen, “How We Ended Up Together” from Naming the Stars. Copyright © 2004 by Joyce Sutphen

%d bloggers like this: