Words and images keep on showing up.
I manage a quick sidestep
to let them pass
but cannot avoid their rush.

Waiting at doctor or dentist’s office
I thumb through a worn magazine.
Ideas leap from its pages
like arrows snagging memory.

In the supermarket foreign foods aisle,
on labels I cannot read and boxes
I’ll never purchase, coded phrases
act as if they belong to me.

Driving across high desert, piñon and sage
for miles on either side,
I pull off road, grab pen and paper
and begin.

Looking in a mirror or running from
myself, I imagine a portrait
of the artist as an old woman,
in past tense and sure future.

I pause to soak up sun or rest in the shade
of someone else’s story. The poem
is always waiting around the corner
telling me who I am.