The vinyl strap of my purse aches
against the cotton/poly blend
of my navy cardigan.
These streets are adorned with
cacti and faux adobe facades
and I am overcome with a sense
of unworthiness. Who am I
to take a vacation, gallivanting
around the sunny Arizona streets
pretending to be a writer?
(surrounded by a desert of words)
The first step is to take my
inner critic, pluck her from
my shoulder and skewer her
on the prickle of a cactus
leaving her there to shrivel
under the arid sun.
The second step is sitting down
to write. A few false starts,
consisting of checking Facebook,
opening my work email, replying to
my work email, responding to work
email, chastising myself for
working on vacation, pausing to
snack, watching a short video,
in short, being hypnotized by several
shiny electronic communiques.

And then, finally, shyly, the poet
within pokes her head out, asking
if she can come out and play,
if she can come out and write.

“I know you’re busy, but–”
she starts.

“No, it’s fine,” I reply, extending
my hand. “I’ve been waiting for you.
I took this trip to make space for you.”

She grins, looks as if she
might cry, shakes it off,
then flounces eagerly to
my keyboard
and begins her work.