At a party the other night on this farm
I was talking to a woman named Sally
and afterwards I told a woman named Alice
that I was just talking to Sally and the woman said,
“Isn’t Sally a delight?” and it’s true, she is a delight,
and smart, which isn’t true of all delights.
No one would accuse me of being a delight, or smart.
Sally’s husband is a delight, too. He wears little glasses
and makes furniture with his strong nimble hands,
and Sally makes pottery with her strong nimble hands,
and other things, and their products are smooth and durable.
I wish I could be a smart delight. Instead
I have a conversation with Alice’s husband
who is a land surveyor and lives on the farm
(Alice is a farmer). The guy with the little
camera thing on the side of the road? I said.
I think he felt offended and I wanted to explain
that I thought all people were doing jobs
they didn’t want to be doing. I wanted them
to quit their jobs as house painters and computer fixers
and nonprofit communications managers
and become the stand-up comedians and
Médecins Sans Frontières they were meant to be.
I can hear you now: it’s not my place.
But what’s my place? Perhaps to be the person of whom
people at parties can go home and say, She’s the worst.
I try again with Alice’s husband: How do you like
living on a farm? He says he never dreamed
of doing it but luckily he’s fallen in love with cows.
I wish I’d said, That’s beautiful. What do you love
about cows? But I said, Well that’s good.
This is why I can’t hang onto any of the men
or women I like, even as friends. It takes
a really special kind of person to see my strengths.
SARAH TRUDGEON is the author of the chapbooks Dreams of Unhappiness (Poetry Society of America) and The Plot Against the Baby (dancing girl press). Her poems and criticism have appeared in Eight Miami Poets, Hyperallergic, The London Review of Books, The Miami Rail, The Nation, The Paris Review, and The Times Literary Supplement. She is the director of education for the writers’ residency and public humanities project The Mastheads and lives in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.