Room with a view of a cement wall

It felt like biting into an unripe persimmon.
The furry fuzzies curled my tongue.
This is 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.
A blast of icy snow hit the moment we opened the door
Welcome to New Hampshire
and no car rental for you
who dared to have reserved 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
Just three flights down to an air mattress
and a lease on hold
for unexpected COVID complications.

Who knew we could make do with so little?
All of our stuff in storage,
two weeks before our car arrived,
Who ever heard of a Sunday paper without a crossword puzzle?
Juxtaposing an old jigsaw puzzle with a pizza
on a too-small TV tray.
Maybe we ate the two missing pieces,
leaving us with a puzzle that,
like our carefully planned move,
is incomplete.

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

Did we really need to leave behind
the embrace of friends
always there to lend a hand,
to come to godscountry
where we stood for an hour
outside a WalMart
in the shiver of dusk,
without even a bench to rest
waiting for an Uber XL (for Xtra Large)
driving up in a compact car,
driving off when he saw us
looking like we were homeless,
leaning for our lives on our shopping carts,
piled with the detritus of survival capitalism:
pillows and plastic plates,
towels, toilet paper,
and 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,
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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