You make it all the way to Queens and back
on a yellow bus of children without getting sick,
a little girl's head resting in your lap
and your hand blocking the sun from her eyes.
The driver tells you one too many times that you are beautiful
and now it's hard to look him in the eyes
in the rearview mirror.
He says the slow music is to help the kids fall asleep,
but the lyrics seem a little va-va-voom
for this crowd.
It's not until later,
when you have a big pot of chicken soup cooking
that you finally feel like you have done something good.
Even though you forgot the parsley at the market,
even though later tonight you will stand on a stage.
It's this halved onion and these bay leaves
you won't forget to pull out later
that mean everything.
You turn the soup to simmer and
pull a chair to the kitchen window
to rest your own head,
unshielded from the sun.
Some years it feels like more is lost than found
and when the calendar turns to the final page
it is this cup of tea on the windowsill
and this brief afternoon light
that warm your hands.
The pot of basil dividing your tea from your cookie
makes you wonder if next year will be better,
or if we are harvested and pruned forever.
The green leaves probably hold some wisdom
about new growth and possibility,
but the sun's dance in and out of midday clouds
somehow feels more true.