Old Rondo

Illustrations © Leann E . Johnson/lea-way.com

we were Ferris
wheel watchers
firefly fighters
dollar store cap gun
cops and
Sunday creased collars
private school scholars
giving the church basket
the dollars our mothers
slipped into our pockets
seconds before.

Going to the Library

Ferdinand Uebel, 1950 
Courtesy Minnesota Historical Society

Early on, my library card was one of my most precious possessions. This small piece of heavy card stock, about three by four inches, was my passport to the adventure of other worlds, and also to my own adventures.

Selby Avenue, 1970

© Clifford M. Renshaw/Minnesota Historical SocietyThe Angus Hotel at 165 North Western Avenue, 1971.

As a teenager I drove grain trucks, pickup trucks, and Massey Ferguson tractors for farmers in the Red River Valley. I hauled oats, corn, and soybeans and drove alongside combines as wheat poured into truck beds. I plowed fields and threw straw bales. While not an idyllic life by any means, it was a life of sunshine and even golder harvest moons.

Eating Philosophy

© Serena Mira Asta/AstaArt.com

Waitress walking across the bridge still smell like kitchen. Want to serve you my seven spice butter sauce blueberry eyes freshly baked buns grated parmesan hair.

Good River Feeling Bad

© Chad Hambright/RockwellAllNight.see.me

Her voice is deep water, Though she’s too shallow this year for ships, Her body more round than angular, When I ask her questions I get more, Answers than I know what to do with, She says her name in whispers

The True Box of Life


Kofi Bobby Hickman taught us about the three snakes of life: the cobra snake—it lures you in; the rattlesnake—it warns you; and the garter snake—it bites you without warning.

Thank You for Calling The Radisson Saint Paul

© Sarah Walsh/ErdeEcoArt.com

During the summer of 1980 between my sophomore and junior years at Hamline University, I worked as a telephone operator on the 3 to 11 p.m. shift on the last existing cord board in Saint Paul, at the downtown Radisson Hotel. The toggles and cords were mounted in a long, narrow black desk with metal-rimmed holes in a vertical wall panel. Two operators sat side by side, clicking the cloth-wrapped cords into room-numbered holes to connect the calls.