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The Errand

Today’s poem is “The Errand” by James Schneider. He lives in Brunswick and has published poems in various online and print journals including Verse Wisconsin, Abraxas #49, and Third Wednesday. Although he has spent most of his life in Wisconsin, where he was a lawyer, he now lives near Bowdoin College, which he attended long ago. 

He writes, “The poem came about when I thought of my mother’s legal blindness due to macular degeneration in her later years. She spoke wistfully of how she missed being able to drive, play bridge, and just do ordinary things. Her words made we think of how we often go through life in a daze of inattention and irritation, and of how it’s possible to wake up and appreciate what arises in our everyday lives.”

The Errand
by James Schneider

After the long death of her husband,
when she thought the world would open
again, her blindness widened, and soon
she couldn't drive. She told her son,
during his weekly call, how wonderful
it would be to go outside by herself
and drive to the store. She would allow
red lights and honking, those boys zooming
by on skateboards, even the checkout girl
smacking gum. She would buy something—
it didn’t need to be a cashmere sweater
or a silk scarf (although a new blouse
would be nice). It could be a quart of milk,
a loaf of bread, and then she would drive
straight home. She’s not greedy, she explained.
A short drive and a couple of things
at the store. Just that.

Poem copyright © 2017 James Schneider. Reprinted from Third Wednesday Vol. XI, No. 1, 2018, by permission of James Schneider.