by Jane Blue

He was picking up pine cones for a cockatiel.
She was a ghostly film unwinding.
They drove home from the coast in the rain.
It was their anniversary trip. That night
she’d dreamed of people surgically joined.

She, like an extra limb hung against his heart
suspended as if by a wire. They drove
down into Rumsey Canyon, striae upended.
She saw her life like that, each part
isolated from the rest: childhood, motherhood.

The twenty years she’d been wih him
kept neatly in its layer. She looked for evidence
of fire in the hills, wanted to see the devastated
remnants of a late-summer holocaust.
All along the road redbuds

exploded interiorly, their russet seedpods
like her heart, exposed, after the fire was out.
And yellow vine-maple like lamps in the mist
of her mother saying “Cheer up!”
And startling shades of orange, invading tamarisks.

And the Oregon grape hanging yellow strands
of light in the suffocated pines.
A blanched tree near a green one. Stripe
of soot on a bole. How fire clawed and leaped.
How it was nothing personal.


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