All in by Laura Gardner

by Laura Gardner

when you realize you didn’t really want to be a Russian gymnast
or the lion trainer for Ringling Brothers, or a jockey,
though your sister did make costumes for the circus
and could have come up with something daring and sparkly

there’s no real hurry to see the tomb of Hafez, and
how great can the Great Barrier Reef be, really?
Because, well, Australia and all those other places,
they’re way too far. Besides—the plane ride…no,

as the workday wanes into the humid night you anticipate
the morning commute down Route 31, looking east,
where ordinary clouds form on the horizon like mountains.

above the tree line, they’re the Himalayan ice blue peaks,
the misty tips of New Zealand’s Southern Alps,
they’re the Andes of Peru, llamas and all,
and as your wheels roll over the pavement, hot coffee at your lips,

the planet turns ever so perfectly toward the sun, toward our dawning star,
and a neon ridge blazes over those mountains
like nothing you’ve ever seen before.


Laura Gardner is a rural mail carrier who writes poems, fiction, and creative nonfiction. She self-studied the writing craft while working as a library assistant before graduating with a BA in English/Creative Writing. Her poems have been published in various journals including Rosebud, Lily Literary Review, and Modern Haiku. She lives in New York’s Finger Lakes Region and enjoys kayaking, hiking, berry picking, and pie.