Poem of the Week, by Robert Okaji

Still room in tomorrow’s The Art of Writing Picture Books, Tuesday’s The Intuitive Leap and other workshops! Click here for all the details – I’d love to see you in the Zoom room.

A while ago I was out doing errands, heading to places I haven’t been in a while: Turtle Bread Bakery, Great Harvest, the coop, Sunnyside Gardens. When I was finished I headed home, except not, because next thing I knew I was pulling up to the curb in front of my children’s old elementary school.

Alison, what the hell are you doing? It’s been well over a decade since I picked a child up at elementary school.

I looked up at the old brick building, the playground that we fundraised new equipment for, the third floor that was the domain of the eighth graders, the first floor where every year we hosted the Carnival fundraiser that parents semi-dreaded and every child adored.

The routine of those years washed through me: drop off the older two, take the youngest and her friend to Turtle Bread for a muffin before school started, return to Turtle Bread and sit in a booth with coffee and my laptop, writing one book, then another, then another. Years and years. Hello, goodbye, hello, goodbye.

Driving without Radio, by Robert Okaji

One minute you’re sipping coffee at the stoplight,
and the next you find yourself six miles

down the road, wondering how you got there,
just two exits before the French bakery

and your favorite weekday breakfast taco stand.
Or while pondering the life of mud,

you almost stomp the brakes when a 40-year old
memory oozes in — two weeks before Thanksgiving,

the windshield icing over (inside), while most definitely
not watching the drive-in movie in Junction City, Kansas,

her warm sighs on your neck and ear, and the art
of opening cheap wine with a hairbrush. How many

construction barrels must one dodge to conjure these
delights, unsought and long misfiled? You turn right

on 29th Street and just for a moment think you’ve seen
an old friend, looking as he did before he died,

but better, and happier, and of course it’s just a trash bag
caught in a plum tree, waving hello, waving goodbye.

Click here for more information about Robert Okaji.


Words by Winter: my podcast


  1. 3boysandmylens · November 7

    Hello! I enjoyed the class yesterday. Just checking if you have space in the class tomorrow evening?

    Sent from my iPhone



    • alisonmcghee · November 7

      I loved seeing you in the workshop! Yes, there are still four spots open for tomorrow night. Shall I sign you up?


      • 3boysandmylens · November 7

        Yes, please☺️

        Sent from my iPhone



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