the left coast
Jen put me
on the train after the kind man in silly goggles took links out of her watch in the mall. She and I spent our first decade of life telling the mountains out back of my mother’s dusty blue van to
Stop following us.
I taught Jen to masturbate. I bossed her around, something for which I apologized last night when we got drunk in her barn. Somewhere between Eugene and Eureka darkness renders
The evergreens dark
triangles and each gorge’s rushing river cobalt to violet to large pats of butter spread by the moon. Call it what you will, the spectrum that begins with metaphor and ends with a
Drowning in mirage:
a blameless mutiny of the mind, a disease of perception. Next to me a girl with shorn hair and many tattoos cried as we pulled out of Union Station. She must tend to a sick grandfather and
Leave the love
of her life in Portland. The tracks in the 5pm honey light out the back window curved sideways, a portal. I spent the years Jen and I hadn’t seen each other largely in deserts. I couldn’t believe the
Lushness of her
ten rambling acres but I could believe her menagerie of animals and the fact that her sweet bear of a boyfriend had a dog who loved Jen more than him: Jenny Doolittle had
Always been so.
In the barn she and I sat at the makeshift bar and listened to the song “Heartbeats”, Jen delighted that I sang it too. Nobody else knows it! The train heaves and clanks, a capsule of nappers dropping off
One by one.
The firred mountains of the northwest fold into one another, visual lullaby. Bear played pingpong with the roommate who showed me the barn attic and how the light shining up into its darkness
Made a constellation
of the floor. Jen widened her eyes to quiet me when bear approached. I don’t want him to know. Words fail where landscapes are concerned. I failed her more. I tell seatmate pain can be sweet, it means her
Heart is working.
The train trundles by a tiny Oregon town where two girls stand and wave. They look about ten. Jen said tearfully you I can tell, you are safe. The mushrooms I browned in the pan
For her festooning
the grass outside the barn. I said You are gorgeous. We buried into each other’s sweatshirts. I said It’s not your fault. I held what little those years had left of her, fighting the shapes and the dark.