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Walking the West Side, a poem by Roger Pfingston

Walking the West Side 

Bloomington, Indiana

Having confirmed with each other over breakfast 

what day it is, we are walking a slow mile   

on the west side—the winsome mix of local artists,    

their front-yard galleries. My mask dangles

from one ear, my wife’s pulled down 

below her chin, at the ready should someone 

appear up ahead or from behind, 

or suddenly step out the door full-featured.

Grateful for a day’s reprieve

from the hurricane’s spinoff storms, we walk 

the four points of the compass, taking in 

the yard signs—No Hate, Buy Local,

the amusing Helicopter Rides $20.00

as well as the Little Free Libraries, some 

achieving objets d’art. We stop to read the spines—

pristine, tattered—of each librarian’s modest offering,

New Age Baby Names missing its cover.

Our final block, the brightly worked gardens

of longtime dwellers…hostas and grasses,

zinnias, phlox, purple asters…but the morning

stopper is the perennial troupe of tall naked ladies 

standing just below a fence dripping with morning 

glories, above it all a lone dove on a low-slung 

power line, its coo as soft as lamb’s ear.

Home again, having touched nothing more 

than each other, we wash our hands, 

the answering machine pulsing

its desire to speak to us.



Roger Pfingston has poems in recent issues of Sheila-Na-Gig, Dash, Hamilton Stone Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, Innisfree Poetry Journal, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. His chapbook, What’s Given, is available from Kattywompus Press.