Off We Go

Each summer, I remember the summers of my childhood, the art shows I went to with my family to sell my dad’s pottery. I wrote this poem about those adventures.

Off We Go

Out of dusty monotony and waving green quiet, off we go:
from Pollo Tropical in Miami to JoongBoo Market in Chicago
and Fresh Air Bar-B-Que in Georgia, a tongue
to taste the country, summer salt and autumn crunch.
The flavor of growing in motion: city maps to my dad’s art shows,
strange grocery stores where we bought kumquats
and alstroemeria, carefully arranging our lives
in pottery vessels we sold in every city,
for cash we traded in evening to sample
fried plantains,
boiled peanuts,
mint limeade.

Gulf-fishing Cayo Costa’s island shore for sheepshead grilled tender;
sunny sand and climbing for one ripe coconut.
Bibimbap in Ann Arbor, and Mizithra cheese in Vancouver.
Trading comfort, sameness of home, for my dad’s wild blue yonder of the road
that whisked us from winter to red dirt and fried shrimp in Jupiter, Florida
or Joy Yee’s Noodles in Evanston, Illinois. Childhood of wheels and boxes
and plates, water glasses and table cloths,

exploration that always circled into action—Rum punch! Piña colada!
then back around to the firm propriety
of rural Illinois.

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