Poem: San Francisco 1978-81

Adrift in my twenties, I dropped anchor
at a jelly bean house perched high on a slope,
stroked by fog, straddling salty bay bridges.
Stripped to my senses, I strolled into North Beach
cafés to hear Puccini crooned by paunchy old men
in spaghetti-stained aprons, sipped Pinot
on bare-bodied beaches, spent soulful afternoons
caressing Irish coffee at the Buena Vista,
flushed nights at fern bars downing drinks
under fuzzy lights.  I plunged on two wheels
through the Presidio, sucked in the sea mist,
gazed into open-air bars jammed with wiry, wired
men’s men.  I clung to the margins of cable cars,
leaned into the sultry curves of fabled streets. 
The City was on edge, caught between the disco beat,
and the hushed unease of a deadly new virus.
Yet, I lingered, hoping to land on solid ground.

Irene Fick’s nonfiction has been published in newspapers and magazines in Chicago, San Francisco, Tampa and Philadelphia.  Her poetry has been published in The Broadkill Review; Third Wednesday; No Place Like Here: An Anthology of Southern Delaware Poetry & Prose; and Adanna, a Journal for Women, About Women (forthcoming). She lives in Lewes, Delaware.

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