“i’m almost there, five stops away”
i’m minutes away from where the blood mixes
& where i’m going to spend the next four hours
exploring the shapes of acquaintances, beer, & cigarettes.
if i close my eyes i can picture the road to my grandma’s house:
head down 97N, turn left at the cemetery, left again at the tumbler ridge turn off,well past teds service, take a right at the sound barrier fence my grandpa built four summers ago so my grandma wouldn’t have to listen to jake brake squeals of the trucks going down the highway. follow the loop of their drive, past sheds with snares hanging on the door with bear skin nailed on the side. park in front of the house my grandpa made with pieces of wood cut from down the road. follow the path where i used to dig up red clay with rusty tonka trucks. walk by the chickweed i spent summers pulling up with my grandma, feeling tender stems give at my pull.
as you drive away, honk your horn and look back: grandma will be waving in the window.
* * *
“you can just drop us at the stop sign, thanks.”
awkwardly fumble through wallets & pay, we follow cracked sidewalks to sit on the back steps.
we talk about the ways in which our nights feel real & surreal.
& about hands we grazed & eye contact we held & i realize that i’m rooted here
more so than i’ve been rooted anywhere else
even though if i tried hard enough i could draw you a picture
to the field where we pick wild strawberries
i could draw you a map of where to find huckleberries on
i could paint you pictures of what it looks like
when moose strip bark trying to shed velvet off their antlers.
i don’t believe in in-between spaces.
i don’t believe in longwinded monologues
about walking in two worlds.
my existence isn’t confusion
& trying to reconcile the fact
that i know how to tell when the seasons are changing
by the way leaves hang with the fact
that i can count time by bus stops.