In San Francisco
by Tamara Madison
After work I climb the tall streets
of my neighborhood, up down up down,
toward home, away again, past the bar
that floods the sidewalk with the smell
of despair, up this hill and down the next,
past the drunks on the corner, past
the homeless Rastafarian, up one hill
and down another, past angry kids
with pins in lips. My head swirls
with thoughts that I know are stupid,
dangerous and wrong, but still
they swirl around, around, up one street
and down until finally, just to stop
the madness I make my way to my own
door and into a sea where love roils –
pure for the child, sharp and painful
for the man who helped to make him.
I turn the knob and wade into the churning
waters of my terrible mistake.
* * * * *
Tamara Madison is the author of the chapbook The Belly Remembers and two full-length volumes of poetry, Wild Domestic and Moraine, all published by Pearl Editions. Her work has appeared in Chiron Review, Your Daily Poem, A Year of Being Here, Nerve Cowboy, the Writer’s Almanac, Sheila-Na-Gig, and many other publications. She has recently retired from teaching English and French in Los Angeles and is happy to finally get some sleep. More about Tamara can be found at tamaramadisonpoetry.com.