Window of Opportunity

I started co-facilitating a Nebraska Writing Project course today. The class has a focus on connecting literature and writing, and like any NeWP course, we are expected to bring a new piece of writing each day to share with our writing groups and engage in giving and receiving feedback. We are studying a graphic novel called The Arrival (I recommend it..it's beautiful). Our assignment for today was to choose an image or a page from the text to use as inspiration for a creative writing piece. This isn't my best work, but I figured select a piece or two each week to post on the blog. The image I used as inspiration for the poem is the last one--the wall of windows. I focused particularly on one window that appears to frame a woman looking out.

From The Arrival

Window of Opportunity
In this window--
a woman sits staring into the streets.
She smiles
at the stray dog,
at the child
hitting a stick against a nearby fence
just to hear its rhythm.

As quickly as the smile comes,
it fades
as she remembers her home.
This is not her home.
This is a shell.
A cage twenty stories up.

She does not come down.
She wants to be there--
where the houses are yellow and green and pink
and have bedrooms
and are not high-rise apartments
with people cramped,
sharing hallways and bathrooms and cups of sugar
attempting to be neighbors.

She wants to tend her garden
with, Theadosea, her sister.
She wants to smell czarnina soup
boiling on the stove,
hear her mother’s cackling laugh.

Instead, she’s here,
in the “land of opportunity.”
But opportunity looks different
than she imagined.
It’s crowded
and smells a lot like dust and iron.

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