in poems

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.