“What Are the Prospects?” by Amy Lemmon


Union Square Park swarms with students
and tourists, languages I can’t identify,
families, mothers with toddlers
trailing sippy cups, men just off shift
lighting and then stomping cigarettes
before they descend to the train.
What are the prospects? The question I asked
every time I tried the online Tarot reading site,
hoping again and again for some ancient truth
to blow up like a billboard in living color,
explaining everything from the guy I wasn’t hearing
from, to the poems I wasn’t writing, to my kid
not getting out of bed for school. What are
the prospects? 
The blunt dull-dog persistence,
refusing to quit until I got an answer I could live with.
At the moment, the answer is curly kale
and whole wheat pita. I’m a pushover for fiber,
health kicks and promises, rooting
for moisture in a dressingless salad, settling
for the odd clump of feta, a lone pitted kalamata.
What are the prospects? Kaput, goosey gander
full-on shutdown, which we are not at liberty
to discuss at this time. They say spring
is coming, as it does, pushover that I am,
anticipating change, anticipating green pea shoots
and white asparagus, new lambs and all that bleating,
bleeding out and about in the world that remains
mostly fine, mostly inhabitable, mostly turning still.

Amy Lemmon is the author of five poetry collections, most recently The Miracles (C&R Press 2019). Her poems and essays have appeared in The Best American Poetry, Rolling StoneNew LettersPrairie Schooner, Verse, Court Green, The Journal, Marginalia, and many other magazines and anthologies. Amy is professor and chairperson of English and Communication Studies at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technologywhere she teaches poetry writing, creative writing, and creativity studies classes, and co-editor (with Sarah Freligh) of The CDC Poetry Project.

Image: Union Square by Martin aka Maha via Flickr

search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close