Minnows school and shift, pulse and pound, burst into sixty or seventy slivers. Your hand in my hand, you take each step as if walking in oversized slippers.
Out here, crappies and perch are abundant. Great gray owls and black-billed magpies fly by. We stand by the water’s edge. It doesn’t know you’re there, that your legs, once so suited for this land, for swimming, are now egret-thin.
Now and then we pause. Rest is rote. Dragonflies, like buzzing syringes, wing through the summer air. Wasps and bees needle the breeze. It is too humid and late. When we stop again, you remove your wig for the last time. I rub your thin belly, circular and slow, to ease the ache. Your shadow shimmers the water.
I remember when we were here last-- Your long Chippewa-hair flung droplets. You sung Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes” and told me histories that never happened.
When we return to the copse, we veer back toward the path to sit some more. Near standing weeds, I think of Homer’s fields of asphodels.
You stand and grit your teeth, hiss from the effort and pluck a cluster of oval leaves. You toss the foliage down, down to the moss-covered rock, shaped like oversized pills. A yellow- bellied flycatcher swoops past. My narrow eyes stare as it goes.
I wonder about playing pool and jazz clubs, if I will take a cruise or return to school somewhere abroad, and how fast life will move when all this slowness ends.
original version in Blood Orange Review
3 World Views, 2008
Tube to Nowhere, 2009
Shrinking to Sand Grains
Inside the house is a maze of boxes. Outside: the boxwoods, some bees, a U-Haul, the scent of wood and paper on my hands. My neighbor’s empty fridge blocks my driveway. Heaped into a can, my blue tarp has no damage left to cover.
Under the blindness of pine, I relax, flat, my arms spread in the tickle of grass. Song birds land near, eyeing bugs. The jay rests near his nest and I soak in shade, waiting for movers to take years away.
I can’t forget this city. I can’t stop hating this city.
I roll onto my side and grab a red rock from the ground: a fat-tailed flatness, burnt brown spots. I think how it sits, light touching its back, shrinking to sand grains, noting nothing.
I won’t stop hating you. I won’t forget you.
Above me: mindless moss, a bland tree. Beneath me is pulsing yard. Gnats like wisps of ash descend toward my garden. The day slips away like shed skin.
Dear Lakeview, dear Crescent City, I must go. My mind is a breath caught in rock.
original version in Third Wednesday
These Cow Boots Are Made For Splashin' , 2007 (the right is polarized)