Idlewild by Joan Mazza


Joan Mazza

That feeling when your shoulders relax
and you slump in a molded airport chair
or waiting room, knowing you’re
captive to time and others’ plans
and schedules, trapped in one place
for days because of a blizzard or monsoon,
unable to go to commute to work, too late
to shop for more supplies. Your body
lets go, freed of the burden of errands
and meetings without meaning, allows you
to gaze out the window as snowflakes fall
and icicles march along the eaves.
With nowhere to go and little to do,
your mind wanders into cobwebby corners
where memories lurk, dusty and gritty,
with a soundtrack from an old kitchen radio
and a scent track with the fragrances of broiled
lemon and garlic chicken, Mother’s voice near,
warning of the treachery in ice and frostbite.
Cut off from any demand or obligation
to do something productive but likely
unimportant, you are stuck inside
a warm space surrounded by books,
or marooned in a place equally safe, waiting
for the call of your name or flight number.

*Adjective. Feeling grateful to be stranded in a place where you can’t do much of anything.
From The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig.

About the Author

Joan Mazza has worked as a medical microbiologist and psychotherapist and taught workshops on understanding dreams and nightmares. She is the author of six self-help psychology books, including Dreaming Your Real Self. Her poetry has appeared in The MacGuffin, Prairie Schooner, Adanna Literary Journal, Poet Lore, Slant, and The Nation. She lives in rural central Virginia and writes every day.