by Marne Wilson

He didn’t believe in making plans.
He said it was better to leave things to chance,
to be spontaneous and let the universe surprise us.

We drove to Madison, and he was bored
by the end of the first afternoon.
“There’s nothing to do here,” he said.
“We might as well go home.”

He left it to me to go into the Holiday Inn and explain
why we would not be needing a room after all.
The story I made up got us our deposit back,
and we slept in our own beds that night.

In Omaha we visited the zoo
and dined at an Old Country Buffet in the mall.
We managed to stay the whole night in our motel.
The next morning, we went through
a museum full of airplanes.
I prayed my feigned attention would
draw out the slender thread of his patience.
Still, afterwards, he said,
“There’s nothing more to do here.
We might as well go home.”

Our trip to Duluth was the best we ever took.
We were only passing through
that city of our long-cancelled honeymoon,
but we couldn’t bear to leave.
We spent the night in a hotel with a lake view,
watching ships passing by in the harbor.
The next morning, we called our parents
and told them not to expect us.

We spent the day exploring
one beautiful lakeside park after another,
the success of each luring us on to the next.
Finally we had achieved true spontaneity.

And yet, night had to come eventually.
“There’s nothing else to do here,” he said.
“We might as well go home.”
And so we did, but at least this time
I had some memories of beauty to carry with me.

Marne Wilson grew up on a farm in North Dakota and now lives in Parkersburg, West Virginia.  Her poems have recently appeared in Coachella Review, Glassworks, and Steam Ticket.  She is the author of a chapbook, The Bovine Daycare Center (Finishing Line, 2015).

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