in poems you are not required
to tell the truth exactly as it is —
a trick (so it seemed) i learned in college
from the lady professor who looked
like an artist from the 1930s.
i am not saying she lied — but i knew
that when (in a poem) she looked out the window and saw “the people in the town,”
she meant the students slouching toward the union with their backpacks,
unpicturesquely in search of a jolt of caffeine.
to the twenty-year-old idealist i was
that seemed such a cheating thing to do;
at almost thirty-five, our neighbor’s unfenced lawn becomes a meadow,
and our small backyard eden
contains the wisdom of the universe.