ISSN 0024-5089
Copyright © 2007 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.

Volume 53, No 1 - Spring 2007
Editor of this issue: Patrick Chura

Stepping Over

Auridas Jocas

Auridas “Keeps” Jocas was born in Šiauliai, studied at Vilnius Pedagogical University, and worked for Peace Corps Lithuania in 1992–1993. He has an MA from The University of Akron and currently teaches ESL in North Canton, Ohio. He is married, has six children, and is always on the lookout for a good bread recipe.

(Step over, if you wanna piece of duona)

Bending her back under the weight of arthritis
And years on the farm, she is taking her time
Walking uphill on the street Donelaitis
As if looking for something that has gotten away
A key? A litas? Or the days … oh the days.

Guided more by intuition than hearing and vision
Like a wizened tortoise
Tapping her cane, dodging the potholes
Moving along with a quiet purpose,
As if pushed by invisible power
Just one more block and she’ll be the first in line
Before the grocery store “RŪTA” opens at nine.
And that’s in less than an hour.

Out of nowhere, ten feet in front
A black cat takes a shot at a loose flock of pigeons
He is too, in a hurry, he is too on a hunt
And meaning no harm, he crosses her path.
She doesn’t slow down; just does some math
And quickly shuffles some things in her head:
Her house could catch fire
Her prescriptions expire
She could just drop dead
Long before she’s discovered.

She could change direction
With a wobbly, crooked detour
Hobble up to the store in less than an hour
And claim the tail end of the line
A place for the people who’ve only
Wilted red beetroots to buy.
This means no peas for her mišrainė
And a bread: dry crumbly and grainy.
Her guests may think her treats mediocre
As they don’t reach for seconds of her vėdarai
And her cookies taste like dry patties of clay…

She makes her move:

The hell with death, fire, arthritis,
The hell with the hungry feline on Donelaitis.
Wrinkled face like a field lined with furrows
Cracks a secret, mischievous smile when
She chooses the feast
As she steps over the invisible line
Dashed in the eye of her mind
She steps over superstition and fear
On the way to some green peas, butter, and yeast
Thinking, maybe,
She’ll even get some Utenos beer.