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Airport With No Drinking Fountains

by Meg Freer

The flower garden around the corner grows

ever larger, requires ever more water,

and the owner worries its vastness

maps her level of stress.

But Zippy the tulip tree thrives

in the park without being watered.

Planted to commemorate

the demolished neighborhood school,

named by the final class of seven children,

Zippy shows off its first flowers.

Along roads and trails,

wild parsnip grows rampant,

fills abandoned lots with cool green

that disguises the sickening burn.

Doghowls of sirens increase

day and night, and I try not to worry

about whoever needs help at three a.m.

How can I complain that the airport

in Warsaw has no drinking fountains?


Author’s Note:

Written in observance of World Toilet Day, which promotes awareness that much of the world walks hours for a bucketful of water to wash hands or clothes, that lack of water is invasive to people's dignity, and that more people have a mobile phone than a toilet. The poem also addresses the invasiveness of stress, demolition and urban development, weeds, and noise pollution.

Zippy grows in the northeast corner of Churchill Park in Kingston, across the street from the former St. Joseph St. Mary Catholic School, and was named in 2014 by my son’s kindergarten class.

About this Poem

Meg Freer grew up in Montana and teaches piano in Kingston. Her writing has won awards and has been published in anthologies and journals such as Ruminate, Vallum, Young Ravens Literary Review, Eastern Iowa Review and Rat’s Ass Review. In 2017 she won a fellowship and attended the Summer Literary Seminars in Tbilisi. She enjoys photography, being active outdoors year-round, and running, and wishes she had more time for writing poetry.

About the Poetry Blackboard

The Poetry Blackboard showcases poems curated by Kingston's Poet Laureate and written by Kingston poets. There's a new poem every month, written by poets living and dead, historical and contemporary, published and unpublished, adults and children, giving full range to the cultural voice of Kingston. Started in 2015 by Helen Humphreys, the Poetry Blackboard will be continued as of 2019 by Jason Heroux.

News About the Poetry Blackboard

We wish to thank Helen Humphreys, Kingston's second Poet Laureate, for her generous support of emerging and established poets in Kingston through library programming and our Poetry Blackboard project. Throughout her four years as Poet Laureate, Helen curated a digital collection of poetry to showcase the talents of local creators of all ages, both historic and contemporary. Helen also offered several opportunities for emerging poets to develop their craft, offering group workshops and one-on-one mentorship. Her active engagement with the library and community has been greatly appreciated.

We welcome our incoming Poet Laureate, Jason Heroux, and look forward to working together to continue the Poetry Blackboard and develop new community programming.

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