City mouse, country mouse

When I am in the city
I dream of the country.
Fields of marching cornstalks
Gravel roads disappearing over hills
Stands of pine trees by invisible creeks
Queen Anne’s lace along the roadside
Tiger lilies and red-winged blackbirds
Lean yellow cats and fat raccoons
Wind hissing across treetops
Whistling through barn rafters
Spinning and squeaking the windmill
The fragrance of hard-packed earth
Of the burn pile in the backyard
Of the acres of casual green grass
Of the hidden green even in drought
Tractors buzz in the distance
But more often there is silence
A few birds chattering, an owl
Nights so completely dark and silent
That stars willingly reveal their secrets
Scorpio, low on the late summer horizon
Northern Cross, if you crane your neck.
Country skies humble me.

When I am in the country
I dream of the city.
Stone and steel climbing, hoping
To peer over their neighbor’s shoulders
Windows hold staring contests to prove
Wright or Sullivan or Pei was better
Red, yellow, and green eyes blinking
Blue lights pulsing from the lakefront
Warning boats to stay far from shore
El music: rumble, swoosh, ding-dong
Doors closing, now approaching…
The subconscious breathing of traffic
Until an ambulance or fire truck screams
Then fades into the white noise machine
Night shines with millions of bulbs
The golden glow of parking garages
Harsh whites of washed out stairwells
Giant lighted notes from CNA or Aon
Cryptic colors on skyscraper spires
Green could mean leukemia or St. Pat’s
Silent Technicolor pictures play
In condo windows across the street.
City lights comfort me.

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