Leaving the Coast for a Kansas City Job
by Alarie Tennille

Over 1,000 miles away –-
would it be worth the worry, the expense?
Our lists of pros and cons proved
useless — weighing the cotton candy
of dreams against brick and mortar:
our first house, friends, family,
two paychecks. Unknowns can topple
any column of logic.

He took the job. I tried to sell the house.
Mama died. Daddy got cancer. Six months
later, in February, I left camellias
and daffodils and flew back to winter.
At least we had each other. Determined
to like our new home, we explored
neighborhoods, shopping, and museums.
The zoo was fun until I smelled
salt water at the sea lion exhibit.
I cried.

PHOTO: “Moon over Kansas City, Missouri” by Don Wolf. Prints available from

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In 1981, we’d been married almost four years. My husband was an English teacher at Virginia Beach Junior High, but a career in typography and calligraphy was his dream. Hallmark Cards offered him a job. There was no way to know everything else would fall apart around us for a while. He took the job. I left behind a private office with a water view. In the end, Kansas City did expand our lives and give me the writing life I’d always dreamed of, too.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alarie Tennille was born and raised in Portsmouth, Virginia, and graduated from the University of Virginia in the first class admitting women. She misses the ocean, but loves the writing community she’s found in Kansas City, Missouri. Alarie serves on the Emeritus Board of The Writers Place. Alarie’s poetry collection, Running Counterclockwise, was First Runner Up for the 2015 Thorpe Menn Award for Literary Excellence.  She’s also written a chapbook, Spiraling into Control, and her poems have appeared in numerous journals including Margie, Poetry East, I-70 Review, Midwest Quarterly Review, and Southern Women’s Review. Visit her at