Saturday, 5 March 2022

Choosing Flight

by Nonnie Augustine

I thought I was dying from time to time.
Having withdrawn to a nub, I sent my actress out to chit-chat,
wear silly hats, play Bingo, dance on Wine down Wednesdays
if the piano player’s music rocked enough or had a bluesy,
dirty rhythm and if I’d drunk enough Merlot.
In wheelchairs or sitting with walkers at their elbows,
they laughed and clapped for (at?) the aging dancer still able
to move her hips, arch her back, play with her arms and shoulders.
Their pleasure in my foolery gave me joy beyond the actress’s ken.
But always then the retreat to my two rooms,
the blue-gray recliner, my sensitive cat,
the night’s movies or European crime series.
How long these nights were!

My brother Robert called from Philadelphia
and blew this life apart when he said:
“Move! Move with me to Tucson!
Get the hell out of that sterile place you’ve landed.
Take the risk. You used to be a risk-taker.
I’m moving to Arizona in the fall.
You can do it, too, Sis.”
And I did. And I have.

I often wake here before sunrise. I want to.
I feed my cat and make myself a cup of rich coffee.
Then out to the deck to feed the doves, quail, and songbirds.
Hummingbirds sip nectar just above my head and I’m
delighted with them and their tiny, precious, efficient feet!
The woodpecker trumpets his happiness with the seeds
in the feeder hanging from the Palo Verde branch.
After dark, Javelinas may visit. They have messy habits
and are not pretty, but they travel together in whole families
and I like them for this.
The actress has not come to Tucson with me.
I’ve no need for fakery in this new place.
Robert and I go to the Rillito farmer’s market,
we go out to dinner with his old friends, we make plans.
I chose to fly to the Sonoran Desert. I chose to thrive.

* * * * *

Nonnie Augustine is the author of two books of poetry: One Day Tells its Tale to Another and To See Who’s There. The former was named by The Kirkus Review to “Best of Indie 2013.” A treasured achievement for her was being awarded The Glass Woman Prize from Writing in a Woman’s Voice in 2016. She graduated as a dance major from Juilliard a long time ago. Since 2002 she has been writing poetry and short prose. There is also a novel, which lives in a big wicker box in her closet. Her blog is “Augustine’s Confessions.”


  1. Oh, I love it. I love that the actress is no longer needed and that your brother wants your companionship. Live well!