The Joke's On

(From the inebriate who dropped his keys on a dark side street and was found searching for them under a streetlight blocks away)

Because it’s lighter here.
That was my punchy alibi.
Sure, my brain staggered off
from where and what I lost
to the light that showed me things
I wasn’t looking for.

Like a parking stub and lost-cat sign,
this poster from last week’s yard sale;
a lipsticked butt and slurpy cup,
this crumpled past-due water bill.

In sober light, I’d want to know
who parked where with whom?
Why did that tabby flee?
Where’s the family moving to?
What do toss-aways conceal?
Storylines, I swear, more lively
than the banged up car
and wifeless house I didn’t care to find.

I’ll settle for a stronger punch
that makes me less a standing joke.
I’d rather be surprised by what
I wasn’t looking for than stumble
in the dark for what I’m bound to know.

Carolyn Martin is blissfully retired in Clackamas, Oregon, where she gardens, writes, and plays with creative friends. Her poems have appeared in publications around the US and UK, including Stirring, Persimmon Tree, Antiphon, and Naugatuck River Review. Her second collection, The Way a Woman Knows, was released in 2015. www.thewayawomanknows.com>
See another poem in 3.4 here.