Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Yesterday was so full of gifts. There was the Bald Eagle sitting atop the telephone pole by the lake, and the herd of 200 elk grazing the banks, and the deer crossing the road near Bobcat Pass. It is strange how we pass through live often not noticing anything and then there are those times, those moments when an image is seared into our mind forever. Never it seems to be erased. If I could say which of the images I saw yesterday I would remember for a lifetime I would say it was that eagle. Seeing Bald Eagles here is a rare and new experience. But I would never have guessed that telephone booth 36 years ago that inspired this poem.


Out of the depths
of memory
It is there again
This image
Christmas season
On a crosstown bus
Idling before the White House
With all its illuminated marble
Wet from the rain

But what I remember
What I see still so clearly
From out of the window
Of the capital city bus
Is the telephone booth
Lit by the single dome light
And the woman in the so red coat

How long had the bus idled there
Before moving on its route
How long had she laughed
At something said on the phone
How long had I watched
Raindrops obscuring my view
Tears blurring the image
How long had it been
I laughed
Like that

How long has it been
That bus ride
That epiphany of my depression
My unhappiness
And why do I still remember
That happy woman in red
In a telephone booth
At 1600 Pennsylvania

The flag was flying at the White House
Richard Nixon was in residence
Wandering the halls drunk
I was going home from pottery class
To a loveless row house
On Capital Hill
Boys my age
Were dying
In Vietnam
And she was laughing
She is still
In my memory

(c) Jacqui Binford-Bell