“I want to go!” was all you said,
as if you were slamming a book.
So I laid out your hat,
a tube of pink lipstick and blush
replacing the color
drained from my cheeks.
Death struck me then
as pottery with handles loose.
To you it snapped like fingernails —
a casualty of brushing up
against the hardness of a life.
“You don’t need eyes to see a forest.
The picture stays in your lungs.”
I packed a red checked tablecloth
pretending the dice weren’t close.
At the edge of a grave,
even the desert looks green.
Country roads spit gravel back
like bacon cooking in a pan.
You needed the custard of clouds
while I busied my triggers
shooting at hail.
The end was soft alyssum grains
finding the gust of a faithful breeze.
Sweat on your brow
could have been streams,
could have been rain licking the moss.
A stone divided by will
is still a stone in reckoning.
Innocence was telling me
to drive around the avalanche.
by Janet I. Buck