What were you doing there
pinched hollow as a bullet hole

behind your grief, long willows dormant
and hushed in your head? Unspun like a dizzy child

on a tire swing. Running from a monsoon overhead
out of breath and wet, girl, not so unlike the fitful orgasms

that would have had you yet. Or surrounded
by banks of sand and a white circle moon

night’s translucence passing through your
ocean’s hands. A burning kite chasing another

across an empty sky. If only twenty-eight-year-old me
could have told fourteen-year-old you.

Highway songs up and down the Pacific coast
grabbing you and holding on

your lover dozing beside you until dark
sliding up from the water

covers the road’s curves
drawing shadows across the dotted

lines. And you would have found a turn-out and slept
on his shoulder, beside a cliff, with the smell of sea

and night sinking back into its secret,
not leaping over the edge, not even thinking of it.


Penduline Press2013