On Coming out of Rehab
Sometimes all you can say is that the coffee tastes good today,
or the odometer in your car turned over to 76,000 miles
(three zeros in a row looking like an accomplishment).
Sometimes remembering that the trash goes out in the morning
is the best you can do the night before, leading you to roll
carts down the driveway, arrange them side by side,
feeling at the moment that neatness is the only gift you have to give.
Sometimes knowing the definition of a word — maybe imprecate
or peripatetic — is the highlight of your afternoon,
a test you didn’t know you’d be faced with, but passed.
Sometimes reaching the crossing just as a train has gone
saves not only gas and minutes but hints at optimism.
There are pallid days like this, when hot drinks, mileage,
precision, language, railroads can sustain you — or have to.
Thus you lavish time on pouring cream, collecting zeros, tying
trash bags, emphasizing syllables, finding music in metal on metal,
hoping your chance won’t vanish in a distance of tracks.
C.G. Thompson is a winner of the North Carolina State University Poetry Contest and a runner-up for the Barry Hannah Prize for Fiction. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in or are upcoming in North Carolina Literary Review, Jersey Devil Press, Redheaded Stepchild, Fictive Dream, Brilliant Flash Fiction, and epoque press ezine, among others.