She draws back from the railing, covers her ears to block the sound of his voice, angry with the empty promise of his life, replaying in her head. Last night she thought about the broken washing machine while he humped her and how she almost ran off years ago the first time he punched [...]
He blasts through the front door
with a shotgun. I dive left,
sprawl on the tile, commando
crawl to the kitchen,
pant for breath.
I turn to the photo labeled, Grinder, Blue Ox Mill in Eureka. Cobweb-covered equipment on a bench in some outbuilding or barn. Arms crossed, I ponder that seaport town just west of the giant redwoods, sketch a character into this scene: A man who uses lathe, grinder, chisel, plane, rip saw. A man with hands [...]
This is my mother. Dark hair set in finger waves,
long strand of pearls over her white lace
collar. She’s eighteen, sits at an angle
not looking at the lens, straight-lipped.
The waitress asks, Can I get
you anything else? No, I reply.
Notice you enter the coffee shop
from my booth facing the front door.
I drive east out of Carson City along Highway 50— the loneliest road in America. The landscape repeats with a sequence, mountain range followed by broad valley. Wind-swept, populated with cemeteries. I visit Virginia City long enough to talk to the dead. I ask, how this desolate state looked back in the boom days, did [...]
She doesn’t knock or introduce herself, just blows into my life and starts hanging out, takes control of my face, plasters a smile on it that won’t quit. And this gal, let me tell you, she laughs— out loud and often. She cracks herself up. Talk about sassy, she has her way with my emails, [...]
No one knows where this began—too much came together to create this crisis. She watched it turn in on itself like an opium addict who never stops chasing his first high. Craving more and more till what will happen can’t be stopped. The tonic of wilderness—a walk in the woods to refill a part of [...]
1 Monthly I cycle, crave food, indulge a feeding frenzy, still feel starved. Hormones hang heavy upside down like stalactites. I suppress the urge to cry over nothing— everything overwhelms until the moon moves. 2 Midnight the moon glides behind a fifty-foot Douglas fir and I expect ET to cycle across the sky on his [...]
you drive the wrong way down a one way street travel highways with no mile markers search for a road map some sense of how far to the end NPR day to day psychiatrists say one can practice while awake how to squash a bad dream how to confront something frightening you stop no longer [...]
Summer of ’63 I took the red eye out of O’Hare, arrived back at LAX without a clue that city buses didn’t connect that time of night. So, I shared a cab with a sailor I met on the curb and headed downtown to the Greyhound bus depot. Left the sailor to catch his bus [...]
I still wait for something to happen but no sound comes out of my mouth and my tears are dry. Here in the darkness— eyes open wide as a child’s— I look for the hole in the sky. Outside the wind goes to sleep, the birds close their mouths, and for a moment the whole [...]
I awake lost in a tangle of left-over dreams that dance around the corners. Your scent crowds my memory, makes me want you all over again. Consciousness comes closer. Darkness turns to light. I awake exhausted from remembering. Your image lingers on the ceiling, forcing me to re-watch the night the end begins. Pat West [...]
I unpacked Franklin’s suitcase and discovered your packet of letters— bound in a red ribbon. The words that passed between you are carved into my memory as if a knife drove them there. He wrote me beautiful letters, once. Pursued me and made me feel desired. Don’t look surprised. Emotions are not foreign to me. [...]
True, you walked out the door, never looked back at what formed your beginning, instead sought new identities—bits and pieces found along the tracks. In an attempt to lose what your father stole, you left behind what suffocated. New opportunities appear, find you with old mistakes spread across your desk, pondering each little misstep. And [...]
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