“Incidentals” by Penny Freeland

Penny Freeland


It’s not that I have any love for the making:
long lists for the grocer, vacation,
what bills need paying and how much—
lists with simple arithmetic in the margins—
they are always, To Do.

It’s all about remembering
or the forgotten thing may kill me:

mammogram tomorrow
mail check to the IRS
put together your New York City “GO” bag.

My love comes for the crossing out:

ConEd, with a line straight through;
Verizon, with a horizon, in ball-point blue.

Sometimes I write things
I’ve already done
just so I can cross them:

be born
have babies
let them fly away.

from Rattle #41, Fall 2013
Tribute to Single Parent Poets


Penny Freeland: “I was born and raised in New York City. I began writing poetry before I could hold a pen and I memorized my early work. I remember not knowing about the existence of nature. Where I lived, it was paved with tar, stone and concrete. I was amazed, at about the age of five, when I understood that the trees that grew out of the concrete squares were supposed to be there and not the concrete. I saw the sky and felt small. I raised three children and then adopted two more. I am still a single parent to one of them. Now, I live in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and teach at American Public University. The beach inspires me and allows me to witness nature close up, every day.”

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