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Peak Experiences
Jeanie Greensfelder


I accept a party invitation.
A valet takes my car. The hosts and their dog
greet me. I meet Oopsi, a tall poodle, named
for accidents caused by her wagging tail.

A waiter offers me a martini,
stokes me for the clusters of people
trying to connect over movies, books, and trips,
hoping, like me, to be seen and heard. I carry

a security blanket, a topic to discuss: Maslow’s
moments of high happiness called peak experiences.
I'm relieved when Trudy appears with her
waterfall of words: A bead fell off my gown

and the seamstress fixing it had a heart attack. I called 
a locksmith and broke in to retrieve this dress 
for tonight. She shows where the bead is missing.
In my plain black knit, ready to move on, I say,

Excuse me, I need to say hello to someone.
Like glue, Trudy says, I’ll come with you.
Oopsi rubs her white curls on tuxedoed legs. She smells
bacon-wrapped appetizers. Her nose quivers.

Trudy and I want treats too. We follow Oopsi
to a group being served. Patrice complains,

the food’s fatty, grabs another, and says, I have reflux.
Migraines, backaches, kidney stones, prostates, 

and menopause compete, ending with Trudy’s

I almost died and Patrice’s I wanted to kill myself.
I suggest talking about peak experiences:
Trudy drones on about Aspen. Patrice, the Alps.

I slip away, fill a plate at the buffet, and sit by Oopsi.
She looks into my eyes and listens to everything I say.

This poem first appeared in Necessity is a Mother.
Used here with the author’s permission.




Jeanie Greensfelder is the author of Biting the Apple (Penciled In, 2012) and Marriage and Other Leaps of Faith (Penciled In, 2015. Her poems have been featured on Writers’ Almanac and American Life in Poetry. A psychologist, Jeanie seeks to understand herself and others on this shared journey filled, as Joseph Campbell said, with sorrowful joys and joyful sorrows. Jeanie lives with her husband Andy in San Luis Obispo, California, where she volunteers as a bereavement counselor and where she has just been named as Poet Laureate for San Luis Obispo County for 2017 and 2018. Read more of her poems at





Post New Comment:
Fun poem but poignant too, liked it alot.
Posted 03/14/2017 04:25 PM
Great telling, Jeanie! Like I was in the room with you...Thanks for the outing.
Posted 03/14/2017 04:19 PM
I'll take my "Oopsie" on the rocks!!
Posted 03/14/2017 12:27 PM
Fun. I particularly like the line "Trudy and I want treats too. We follow Oopsie/"
Posted 03/14/2017 09:11 AM
This poem perfectly describes the get-together where attendees one-up each other all night. All such parties should have at least one Oopsi to save somebody's day! Janice
Posted 03/14/2017 08:42 AM
A fun poem. Poodles are good listeners. They should get Oopsi a companion named Daisy.
Posted 03/14/2017 06:36 AM
Hillarious! Still laughing!
Posted 03/14/2017 02:43 AM

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