Surgery loomed, escape was needed
before the body shut down for weeks.
I smuggled myself on a friend’s
casual invite to San Francisco.
She didn’t think I’d go.
Top of my list of wanna-sees,
Coit Tower, symbol of that magic city
standing proudly over the bay.
We parked blocks away, strolled by an alley
with almost hidden door.
I was drawn to the wood surface
carved with names: Flaco, 3D, T+M, Scott, AlexT.
Some were freshly dug with a sharp knife,
some with ballpoint pen,
many engrained from years of exposure.
I wondered what connected these guys,
if they were winners – or losers –
in ancient gang battles
or someone just passing by, as we were.
Breathless at the top of the hill
I gazed at Coit Tower, enjoyed
the murals on its walls, its iconic form.
More than the landmark, what dazzled
was the view of sparkling water,
sailboats tacking in a fresh breeze,
smells of salt and diesel and distant air.
I sighed, replete. Escape complete.
My back to the famous icon
I savored the sea.
About the Author: Patricia Wellingham-Jones
Patricia Wellingham-Jones is a widely published former psychology researcher and writer/editor. She has a special interest in healing writing, with poems recently in The Widow’s Handbook (Kent State University Press). Chapbooks include Don’t Turn Away: poems about breast cancer, End-Cycle: poems about caregiving, Apple Blossoms at Eye Level, Voices on the Land and Hormone Stew.