The Poetry Project

The Joykeeper of Everything

Ali Liebegott

I drove to the park
and cleaned my van like an old man today

parked in the sun in the middle of the day
emptied garbage from the cup holders
like I had nothing but time

I’ve seen old men do this, young men, too
in the middle of the day
washing their cars, shining their rims
fastidiously shaking out their floormats

then afterwards, seats reclined
they nap in an amniotic sunbeam

this morning I watched a deer on the hillside
pause so still, its ears straight out
like the points of a weather vane
the joy I felt watching this animal was a miracle
since I’m more Plath than Mary Oliver

I finally brought the bag of books cluttering
the dining room to the used bookstore
when the worker asked cash or trade
I said trade
like I had my whole life before me

that was the spirit in which I went to the park to clean my van
when I grabbed the tiny broom and swept the floor
there was nothing but plentiful time in each stroke
and the man parked next to me, moved this way too
an embarrassment of joy enveloped us

now, alone in my clean van
among a parking lot of other creeps
I recline my seat to nap
I see for once in my fucking life
I’m the joykeeper of everything.

Poems & Texts