Java @ Tiger Park
I could sit on a bench
Across the street and just observe.
Or, I could place myself in the womb of the tiger,
Surrounded by hedges all around,
A canopy of trees above,
And pavers from friends
And acquaintances below.
One reads “In Honor of Our Friend.”
That’s me, and I’m not even dead yet.
A set of them read: “doctor,” “lawyer,” “engineer,”
Like it’s nice to have the family’s resume at one’s feet.
A poet laureate, an architect, a commodore,
Two-year-old Leah, the ferrets and a dog,
An antiquarian, a Desert Storm vet,
Lots of teachers and coaches.
Inside or out of the park, there are lots of connections.
George nods as he carried the Palmer Square mail from door to door.
A young child I know shouts out my name in recognition
And proudly waves her A+ Rocket Math worksheet my way.
Chris scoots by checking for expired meters.
It’s just a java break,
Fifteen minutes, max.
But it’s my world.
Matthews is a child psychologist at 20 Nassau Street in Princeton, just a few doors down from Tiger Park. While she has some poems stashed in a drawer at home, this is her first attempt at publishing outside of her field.
The photograph on the cover of this issue was taken at Tiger Park.