Four Poems by Arvilla Fee

Pic by Steve Johnson


Can I Get a Refund?
eyes blurry from lack of sleep,
a toddler up at o’dark thirty,
snot and tears and tug-of-war
over a pair of shoes,
a pop tart to eat in the car,
(shall we call that breakfast)?
a million little fires
to put out before collection;
with each turn, I see a flame;
I’m too old for this,
too young for this.
I grab the adult-life receipt,
a purchase made years ago
in a moment of haste and a fit
of inspiration.
Can I get a refund—
a full refund that allows 
for sleep
for eating a meal in peace
for reading an entire book
(also in peace)
for the ability to hop into a car
without buckles, belts, wailing,
bags ladened with snacks and wipes
for shopping without a list?
I see it now—no refunds allowed;
I should’ve read the fine print.

Too Young to Know
There’s a thrashing near the fence,
and my heart jumps, alert to danger.
But then I spot her, a beautiful fawn
just losing her spots, tangled in wire.
I can see the whites of her eyes
as I approach with cutting shears
and speak the common language
of compassion for a hurting soul.
I carefully snip her back legs free,
and as she bounds toward the trees, 
I can’t help but wish someone
had cut me lose when I was young
and too dumb to avoid fences. 

in thistles and thickets,
legs red and raw
a cloud of insects buzzing,
no time to wipe sweat away
as the need to find the way back
grows like a cancer,
consuming every active cell;
funny how one decision,
no—a series of decisions,
can alter one’s course,
feet free falling 
from marked trails
to jungled earth.

We Used To
talk for hours,
bump shoulders
in a postage-stamp kitchen,
take long walks around the lake,
fancy ourselves first-rate detectives
as we solved every crime show on TV,
but now we’re silent as we pass
in a kitchen with granite tops;
the lake is distant memory,
the TV, distant noise;
we can’t solve
our crimes.

To read more poems by Arvilla Fee, click here
About the Author
Arvilla Fee teaches English Composition for Clark State College and is the poetry editor for the San Antonio Review. She has published poetry, photography, and short stories in numerous presses, and her poetry books, The Human Side and This is Life, are available on Amazon. For Arvilla, writing produces the greatest joy when it connects us to each other.