Weekend at Willow Creek Ranch by Pat West


No newspapers, radio, TV newscasts
to link me to the rest of the world. No phone
service for calls from the man I screamed at
on the courthouse lawn, so loud my ears rang.

The owner greets me with a basket
and leads me to the organic garden.
I take a pinch of dirt inhale the thick
and hearty odor of green pasture,
pick my dinner row by row. Basket overflowing,
I head to a cottage that faces a meadow.
A red-tailed hawk circles lazily in the sky, no city
sirens or car alarms blaring.

I unpack like I’m moving in. Do a little dance
when I see the Viking stove in the kitchen,
explore every cabinet and drawer, plenty of pots,
pans and more gadgets than what I own.
I need this get away to absorb the fact
that after a two year battle
the rat bastard got the house and the best kitchen
that ever was, one I designed and paid for.

Alone caramelizing onions, no one to debate
the exact moment when to stir. There’s a hundred ways
to get it wrong and no one way to do it right. Yet,
because I wouldn’t turn those damn Walla Walla Sweets
when he said, everything unraveled.
It wasn’t until we were twenty years in,
I realized I couldn’t explain
a life bundled with episodes like that.

If this marriage was a mistake, it’s one I had to make.
The radio aches a little tune. I lift the glass
of chilled Pinot Grigio, tears falling down my face
onto my plate of Ridiculously Easy Sautéd Yellow Squash
and Onions. The weight of metallic bitterness
sits on the back of my tongue.

About the Author: Pat West

PatWestBioPat Phillips West lives in Portland, Oregon. Her poems have appeared in various journals, including Haunted Waters Press, Persimmon Tree, San Pedro River Review, and Slipstream, and some have earned nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.