Last night, Marilyn Nelson, the former poet laureate of Connecticut and winner of the Frost Medal, read a poem called “Caucasian Dinner.” I can’t help but look at my hotel breakfast bar and think, “Caucasian Breakfast.” White flour bagels. White flour muffins. White flour Danish. Frosted Flakes—made from enriched white flour. My body is crying out for vitamins, and my taste buds are pleading for flavor. I just cannot eat another white flour bagel smeared with white cream cheese, even if not eating means gnawing hunger during my morning workshops.
I’ve had some great experiences at my residency. I’m really excited to dive into the semester’s work, especially as relates to sifting through my latest idea for a novel. On the other hand, “Get me outta here!” I feel sorry for the really excellent writer who is performing tonight’s 7pm reading of his creative nonfiction. I’m just going to be sitting in the audience with my keys in my hand, ready to leap up and drive home as soon as he draws too long of a breath.
Construction workers are carving up the road between Danbury and home, so I’ll be sitting on the interstate for long periods tonight, craning my neck at all of the semi trucks around me. I know that I won’t reach home before my children, who have been visible to me for the past week only as images on my iPhone screen, have gone to bed. Maybe my husband will wait up for me if he decides to watch one of his horror movies like “Hot Zombie Stuntwoman from Hell” on AppleTV.
I could wait until tomorrow morning to drive home. Then, I would be greeted with a reception at the front door at a reasonable hour instead of being shaken from sleep by little boys bouncing on my bed at 6am. However, another night in Danbury would just mean another Caucasian breakfast in the morning.
So I’ll skip the white bread. I’ll get into my Chevy, which has started to stall when it comes to a full stop, and I’ll set out for Newington in the darkness, hoping that the car doesn’t stall on the interstate with a diesel bearing down behind me. When I walk into my room, my husband will roll over sleepily, say, “Hello,” and start snoring again with gusto. Even I won’t get a reception when I walk through the door, I’ll still be back where I belong.
Image Source: Lauren Groveman’s Kitchen