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Wednesday, November 03, 2010


by Elly Cummens

I met a brave traveler today,
The woman and I talked.
Have a place to stay? I asked.
Not tonight . . . apartment rent
Cost me too much, she said.
But it’s okay. My kid is going
To college on a scholarship!
Her smile lost a front tooth.
It will be all right this time,
I’m headed for Portland.
St. Vincent’s is cheaper.

I can eat good over there.
All I need is a bus ticket.
Her eyes asked do you care?
Being a proud woman, too, I
Have a soft spot for my sex.
We make up the most poor
Of the very poor, they say.
I watched her gather up her
Bundles for the trip. It was
Something to keep in mind.
A moment to remember.

Always giving, feeding and
Volunteering . . . unless you
Get hooked on satisfaction.
I can’t be satisfied for long.
I love poetry, and when it
Rings clear, I gloat happily.
But who can be satisfied for
Long when injustice walks
The streets without a bed,
And she only needs one gift:
A ticket to Portland?

Elly Cummens is a teacher in the visual arts and lecturer. She plays in a recorder ensemble and is a volunteer for special music and arts programs in local schools. She lives in Eugene, Oregon. She has received grants and awards and is published in Passager, Binnacle, The Canada Poetry Journal, Argus News, The Black Book, Lakeland's Paradise (a book she also illustrated), Oregon Writers' Colony, and others.