Room with a view of a cement wall

It felt like biting into an unripe persimmon.
The furry fuzzies curling my tongue – not at all what I expected.

Flying into Manchester at ten PM
the airport emptied of humans before we even loaded our boxes onto carts.

Slapped with a blast of icy snow

the moment we pushed through the door.
Welcome to New Hampshire! and no car rental for you
who dared to reserve with a debit card.

Did we really need to pack it all in
in the middle of a pandemic
just to land in a basement with a view of a cement wall
No cell phone coverage No internet No TV

Three flights down

an air mattress awaited us
our lease on hold
due to unexpected COVID complications.

Who knew we could make do with so little?
everything we packed impounded in storage
two weeks before our car would arrive
a Sunday paper without crosswords and comics.

Juxtaposing an old jigsaw puzzle with a pizza on a too-small TV tray,
so maybe we ate the two missing pieces,
leaving us with a puzzle that,
like our carefully planned move, remained incomplete.

Did we really have to travel 3,000 miles to arrive here exhausted,
our first-morning caffeine cravings urging us into the cold,
to trudge an icy hill, past cafes closed for COVID,
to a McDonald’s where the Drive-Through-Only was only for drivers driving cars.

Did we really need to leave behind the embrace of friends
always there to lend a hand,
to stand outside the WalMart in the shiver of dusk,
without even a bench while waiting for the XL Uber

Hailing the compact car that drove off when he saw us
looking like homeless ragamuffins,
leaning for our lives on shopping carts,
piled with the detritus for survival:

Pillows and plastic plates,
towels and toilet paper,
a cheapass toaster
And coffee!

Did we really have to travel this far,
to have no alternative but to finally get some rest.
To talk all night…like we never talked before.
And laugh…like we never laughed before

Because it’s all so damn hysterical
how nothing,
went according to plan.

And when I finally broke down sobbing that maybe we’d made a terrible mistake
that we are too old to undo,
you held me in a bearhug and just sighed.

And maybe, we really had to go this far, to come this far.

One Thought on “Moving to New Hampshire”

  • Hard-nosed and realistic, but strengthening and personal at the same time. You confront reality in a beautifully straightforward way, Jeeni. That’s what a poet does.

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