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Today’s poem is "Sherene" by Gretchen Berg. Gretchen is a performance artist/educator and writer. She is the lead teaching artist for Portland’s Side X Side, works in rural Maine schools through the Local Stories Project, and teaches performance courses at Bates College. 

She writes: “Sherene started with the image of a plastic clock sliding down the wall and catching on a nail. And then pretty soon I could see and hear this scene in Sherene’s kitchen. I like a good story and it was a treat to find myself witnessing and reporting in on the launch of a hard-earned escape adventure.”

by Gretchen Berg

Marriage fell off her like a scab.
With Lloyd the ashtray was always half empty.
Sherene wanted more.
Maybe go somewhere.
See something famous.

That morning she leaned across the kitchen counter
drinking coffee from her Class of ‘99 cup
when Lloyd slammed the back door 
sending the yellow clock sliding down the wall 
to catch on the nail by the dog bowl.

Most days the dog went with Lloyd to the lumberyard.
Nadeen was all but engaged.
Ryan had already signed up. 
Nobody needed her.
Nothing was holding her back. 

Ryan and Nadeen took last syrupy bites of toaster waffles
and headed out when Lloyd honked.
Sherene poured her cold coffee
down the cluttered sink
and reached for the rent jar.

Lloyd had the pick-up so Sherene tossed Ryan’s sleeping bag,
her pocket book and some gas station maps into the Malibu.
At the top of their road
she looked left toward the lumberyard
and cranked the car hard right.

Poem copyright © 2019 Gretchen Berg.