To my service advisor at the Ron Tonkin dealership

A four-cups-of-coffee wait.
I know. My car is getting old.
Scraps of poetry will occupy
the time between an oil change
and now expected news:
Thread-bare brakes. A valve flush.
The battery? Kaput.
When you send your rep to spring me
from the waiting room, don’t advise,
She’s the oldest. Dyed red hair.
Say this, word for word,
She’s the earnest one, bent over
a yellow pad, tapping iambs
on her coffee cup.


To the sea turtle breakfasting in Napili Bay, Maui

Look. I’m endangered, too.
The rule says a hundred feet.
Stay on your side of the reef
away from my belly-bulge
and my broad spectrum back.
Scientists cannot agree
which came first—
your plastron or carapace.
Who cares? Fish erase
the plankton off your shell.
A coral fray? No hurt.
While every hour it’s my fate
to search out shade and squirt
the UVBs away.


To Wesley, panhandling on SW 6 and Harrison, Portland, OR

Remember the woman walking
down the street, pushing bills
toward your tattered smile?
A better day! you offered me.

Than what? I asked, rain
still innocent, the urge for coffee
picking up my pace.
Downtown beats you up.
Here sneers are safe.

I tried to shake your hand.
TB, you warned. Exposed.

You’ll earn a room tonight,
I suppose. A second thought
at least. Maybe a poem.


Carolyn Martin

About Carolyn Martin

After forty years in the academic and business worlds, Carolyn Martin is happily retired in Clackamas, OR where she revels in the leisure to garden, write, and participate in communities of creative colleagues.
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