Tuesday, January 7, 2014


photo: sharon auberle

by Donna Hilbert

“ . . . but Wilson had no car.  He felt almost intolerably lonely.”
                                    Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter

So homesick, I engaged wrong numbers
in conversation
for the sound of another
human voice
that year in Seattle when it rained three hundred days.
Not hard as it would at home
and then be done for months,
but just a light piss,
air always damp
like the baby’s diaper.
I watched pink fingers of mold
double every day
in the corner of the window
looking out on evergreens and endless grass.
I longed for LA--
palm trees and Hybrid Bermuda,
trees that let in light and grass with grace
enough to die back
yellow in the winter.
I hated the rain the natives praised
“rain makes everything green,” they’d say,
deranged as they were on chlorophyll and caffeine.
I was green too at nineteen,
with a shiny new husband, one baby,
belly ripening with the next.
My husband studied engineering at the U.
And I studied too--his books from World Lit—
Dostoevsky, Kafka, Camus.
My favorite was Graham Greene
The Power and the Glory, The Heart of the Matter—
adrift in the existential sea.
And I thought then that I
was more displaced
than any whiskey priest or disaffected spy
which I declared to any wrong number
who would take the time
to listen.

~ first published in Fire