Sticking Point

by Rick Mullin

At 50, I am likely to arrive
with roses from the gas station, in need
of better shoes, a less frenetic haircut.
With a smile just barely managing
to hold the road. But here’s the sticking point—
a destination. Someone at a real
concrete address to take delivery.

The county ledger tells you I’m a fool.
And when I come into a certain green
suburban arrondissement, rolling fast
with grade school children on an asphalt strip
along the Watchung ridge, a little girl
drops everything. She stands and looks
at me. She makes me stop the car

so she can run up to the driver’s side
and rap the glass with hopping urgent news.
There’s paperwork downtown. Municipal
directories. A letter with my name
upon a table. Here’s another thing—
the siren echo as the street games end.
And, then, that jagged fire in the trees.