Coming here from Cincinnati on the Amtrak,
                                                                traveling in a full-tube MRI for 17 hours.

                                                                *  *  *

When Langston Hughes was a busboy at Wardman Park Hotel restaurant in the early ‘thirties, he somehow dropped some poems on Vachel Lindsay’s table, which got Hughes on his way to where he went. I drank a cup of house decaf at Busboys and Poets and understood this venue to be no likely launch for any poets who worked here today.

Still, I asked a quiet, dignified young woman at the cash register in the gift shop . . . .  She replied, “Yes, but they’re only sort of haikkus; not exactly . . .”

Only haikkus,” I gushed. “Would you write something in my book?” She would. I said, “Take as long as you like. I’ll look around the gift shop.” Books and fair trade crafts were there. I got a Gray Wolf Press edition of Elizabeth Alexander’s inauguration poem, “Praise Song for the Day.” When the cashier looked up, I went to her and asked if I could read it now.  She said she hoped I liked it.

                                                   i would like to ask
                                               if i may include you in
                                              the dreams i can’t shake

                                                                         – Mei, DC

                                                               *  *  *

                                            Riding home I rested in her persistent dream of me.