i live in a hamlet where two churches stand back to back and the congregations never face each other

there is one intersection, the reformed school on a corner, with its library and playground and dutch children
the co-op another where most of the women are divorced but very nice, and they pile your groceries high and comment on the weather then wave goodbye

and the car wash, somehow never empty, the steam bubbles like empty snowballs drifting up

and if you say “i live in town” people think you live somewhere else, for this is “the center,” and nothing but, and my husband grew up thinking neerlandia was the center of the universe

until he moved

beyond the centre, over a hill and past the intersection, there’s road and sky and farms

more roads and skies and farms
and cows

and most of the time i like it in this place which my friends call narnia
where people bring you casseroles and wonder why you weren’t at coffee break and say hi to you as you sled your son
where moose tread heavy across lawn and white tails flag you at the stop sign

but sometimes i miss hiding
sometimes i miss restaurants and pubs and art galleries and river valleys
sometimes i miss the anonymity of paved roads and the nameless shopping of malls

here, you hide from no one. an eye, divine, peers from the sky wide and when you stop to breathe it’s as if the hamlet breathes with you and you’re a nucleus of red barns and canola fields and stay at home mothers

church is week-long and i’ve never been good at church but here it is, my life, and
while i beg the world invade there is good, there is God, there is humble, in being

in the center of nowhere

(linking today with one shot poetry)