The Tower Journal

Sarah Mac Donald

The Wanderer

I wander around town
as if I know where I’m going,
as if I know who I am.
I wander around town
as if I cared.

I wander and stop
at Bob’s Market on 17th.
I’m the lady with the crooked arm,
the lady who buys fruit and Diet Coke.
The lady who likes bananas,
the lady who stops to pet the dogs.
The lady who always smiles,
the lady who buys only small cuts of meat,
the lady who comes early in the morning
and never late at night.

One day I will no longer wander,
and another lady will take
my place—stopping at the market,
petting the dogs, buying
small cuts of meat and smiling,
always smiling.


This morning was something, a little chill.
A little chill in the air, a summer one,
too timid for now, meaningless till fall.

The ocean was still there after all these years.
The ocean and the horizon and the waves
were still there, crashing on the shore.

Trees, oh, yes, trees. Pines with twisted trunks.
Impossible to tell the starter trunk of the tree.
An evergreen standing tall and proud,
close to the shore.

And the birds, squawking, busy blue jays.
The color of my son’s eyes when he was a baby.
The jays busy, complaining, cleaning up,
looking for more.

Far off, a seal barked his mournful tone.
The rooster reiterated this cloudy morning’s sunrise,
and the click of the hummingbirds could be heard
but not seen.

I stood there drinking my hot, bitter coffee,
wanting to be planted here to join the trees.
After all, the ocean smells of licorice.


I am always wanting more.
More green parakeets with yellow beaks.
More tigers, tigers burning bright.

I saw a man with clear blue eyes.
I want him.

The desert,
I want the desert
with cracked earth.

I want the dryness, the aloneness.
I want to walk and walk and see


maybe a black-tailed jackrabbit,
scurrying into the chaparral.

And then
I will get lonely,
be all by myself.

Just the way I am now.


I’m surrounded by pieces of life:
the remote for music,
a coaster for tea,
the necklace I took off last night,
a notebook for dreams—only one or two entries—
the phone and this pad,
pens in the drawer.

Two dogs nearby—Gracie’s snoring.
That’s it—my life on the table—did I mention
the gray phone?

I put these things there.
I’m responsible for them.
When I die and a stranger comes,
she’ll sweep them away:
my dreams, my notes, the odd coaster.
In less than five minutes
I’ll be gone.

Copyright © 2014 Sarah MacDonald

Sarah Mac Donald is from the East Coast and has lived in California since the sixties.

Her book of poetry and prose The Motorman's Daughter, is available on Amazon. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in ON THE BUS, FRE&D and in the forthcoming UT El Paso publication, The Rio Grande Journal. She lives in a small house in Santa Monica with her dog, Gracie.

The Tower Journal
Spring/Summer 2014