Hello and Goodbye, AWP

Hello, home.  Hello, dog, whose behavior seems miraculously better after a week apart.  Hello, thermostat set at just the right temperature.  Hello, eastern standard time and your accommodating capacity to keep my baby asleep until a godlier hour than central time.  Hello, taller, smarter, better enunciating children– has it only been four days??  Hello, patient and dessert-producing grandparents, and thank you.  Hello, town whose population might know the name of one contemporary poet (besides me, ah ah ah).  Hello, DVR and free wireless.  Hello, sweet potatoes and grilled chicken and food I didn’t have to order or inquire about the nutritional content.  Hello, eight dollar bottle, and goodbye eight dollar glass, of wine.  Hello, open space to breathe.  Hello, mud and trees and snow and tulips pushing through, and goodbye black and wet asphalt, icy, breath-sucking wind, marble, concrete, glass, concrete, and concrete.

Goodbye, friends from other places, friends who can carry a conversation about truth and narrative, farms and marketing, about poets and writers and panels.  Goodbye, five hour ride across Indiana.  Goodbye, Sirius XM radio.  Goodbye, husband, and time alone (almost) with you.  Goodbye four days with no pick-up or drop-off or gymnastics or homework or babysitter.  Goodbye, ethnic variety.  Goodbye, writers I know and writers who might know me (ha ha ha).  Goodbye, high-heeled dress shoes, black-and-gray wardrobe, standing and talking all day, and hello, clogs and blue jeans and t-shirts.  Goodbye, extroverted Sarah, and hello, introverted Sarah.  Hello alarm clock.  Goodbye “going out for a drink” and “where do you want to eat tonight” and “it’s just a few blocks away” and “we can split a cab” and “should we take the train?” and “I think we’ll walk” and “do you see the shuttle yet?” and “sorry I missed you!” and “so good to see you!” and “see you next year!” and “Brrrrrrrr!”  Goodbye, Chicago union workers picking up my empty boxes and discarded discount subscription flyers.  Goodbye, brand-new rental Chrysler Town and Country with the video rear-view monitor, and hello, Ford Fiesta, Dodge Durango.  Goodbye, toll roads.  Goodbye, AWP, goodbye.

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Gospels to Help Kids and Parents Love God and Love Others (2022), American Honey: A Field Guide to Resisting Temptation (2021), Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture (2018), Pruning Burning Bushes (2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award through Finishing Line Press (2009). Sarah's work has been honored with four Pushcart Prize nominations, and her essays have appeared in the notable essays list in the Best American Essays 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Sarah is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides in Ashland, Ohio with her husband and three children.

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