Hitching a ride, trusting a partner, marrying the same person three times
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Ruth L. Schwartz is grateful that she’s able to redeem her youthful and not-so-youthful mistakes in poems. She is the author of five books, including the National Poetry Series winner Edgewater. She teaches creative writing in the low-residency MFA program at Ashland University and lives in Healdsburg, California.
Those winding roads where we stuck out / our thumbs to any cars that came.
When I was eight, I was so obsessed with Erich Segal’s novel Love Story that I memorized the first few paragraphs and recited them at every opportunity: “What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died? That she loved Mozart. And Bach. And the Beatles. And me.”
This is how I met Hugo: I pick up strange men in my car, sometimes two or three at a time. I drive to the parts of town where they offer their bodies: on street corners, outside the paint store and Home Depot and U-Haul. When I slow down, they cluster around like — I was going to say, “like flies around a plate of fruit” or “like bees around a flower,” but the truth is, they swarm my car like men desperate for work. Hugo was so bold he just opened my passenger door and climbed right in.
the enormous yellow moon / balanced like a honeydew / on the hill’s knife-edge, / fat and implacable.
I moved to the country after living in Oakland, California, for the better part of twenty-five years, adoring and defending my troubled city as if it were my wayward though generous lover.
This is what life does, as an act of great / though often misunderstood kindness — it brings us / over and over again to the same sorrows.