Old Soul

By Perie Longo

Dusk, en route to a party,
I’m lost. Roam the road’s serious curves.
Address numbers grow smaller when
they should be rising. The road stops,
a mountain collapsed on its back. I turn around
as if I can reverse the order of things.
Behind a hedge, toward light, I crunch up
a gravel drive. Am greeted by a man,
his gray hair tied back in a ponytail,
grinning in the backglow. Pronounces,
You’re an old soul, very old.

No wonder I’m lost.
Lincoln, you were married to him.
I ignore him, ask my psychic host
if he could tell me where to find the address
I hold out. “I don’t do directions,” he says.
Tells me to go back to town and start over.
Continues naming other old souls I might be—
Katharine of Aragón, Bonaparte’s wife.
It’s getting darker by the minute. I know,
Calamity Jane
, he shouts as if he’s hit
the jackpot. I find myself
on the back of a horse, shoot off a call
to my friend who says turn left,
not right, look for balloons
on her mailbox. I kick into high gear
beating it out of Dodge.

Perie Longo, Santa Barbara Poet Laureate (2007-09), has published four books of poetry. She teaches poetry privately, and is a psychotherapist and Registered Poetry Therapist who facilitates writing groups for wellness at Hospice and elsewhere believing that poetry inspires hope and healing, bridging the gap between self and others. Also by this poet: "Family Soup" and "The Blue Poet"