STOPPING BY THE WOODS AT OCEAN STATE JOB LOT

by on March 3, 2021 :: 0 comments

The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
– Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know. His house
could be anywhere across this busted,
split to bits country, where nearly all the
frightened people are masked to hide their fears,
as cities burn and bullets scar the air.

For twelve years, Paula has been a cashier.
In the village it’s very still these days;
quarantine times and perpetual masks,
still, the Ocean State Job Lot is busy,
Paula on a register, eyes smiling.

Paula and I have become friends over
the years, her constant smile, her eyes not right.
The darkest evening of the year won’t stop
her ringing at the light of Number Two,
her wild, wide black hair pouring down her back.

We’ve made small talk over these many years,
though our connection has not been easy.
She is quite timid and prefers quiet.
The sound between us, oftentimes silence,
and the sweep of wind in the parking lot.

Until the day she said, “You a teacher?”
I said, “Yes I am. I teach poetry.”
“Oh, I love that!” Her eyes beamed and she spoke —
Whose woods these are I think I know, she said,
and she spoke the whole poem perfectly.

Whose woods these are I think I know. His house
in the village is very still these days.
The darkest evening of the year won’t stop
the sound between us, oftentimes silence,
though now she says the poem perfectly.

– John L. Stanizzi

editors note:

Friendships found in verse abound. – mh clay

Leave a Reply