an alley you skipped work to smoke in, a public fountain
you sat before, begging yourself to change, or
any of the innumerable landscapes in whose grasp you were opened,
made helpless by new light.
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAnd love, if these moments are enough
to bless a space so unremarkable as the room where I was born
before an audience of technicians and fluorescence, or
the location where I will one day cease to exist,
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaathen why not
the front seat of the Honda Civic I fell into every morning
near-oblivious to the sun’s ambush of Orion, to the layer of dust
coating the dash like a light snow, the cup-holders filled with portraits
of politicians, etched in copper,
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand the caked sugar of jostled Cokes.
Why not the deep blue frame, the cracked windshield I returned to
after long days informing patients of their rights, families desperate
for relief, or diagnosis, or for leaving,
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaathe thumb-worn steering wheel
I returned to, again, after dark, as though for an hour of prayer,
to hit the Tubby’s drive-thru, or CVS for aloe, to circle the block
awash in my own unspeakable and solemn feelings amid the thudding
of Purple Rain or Germfree Adolescents, burning scraps of the past
to get from here to here
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaauntil the days stretched into a single day,
and the transmission finally gave out on a block riddled
with un-retrieved mail jutting out of boxes, with upended sidewalks,
spoiled food, and rumors of human bodies.
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaI must return, again, to the scent
of air-conditioning fluid as it slowly leaks into the cabin, to the creak
of brake pads worn too thin, to the wheels passed down like an apology
back before this state of constant crisis found me, before I stopped
calling it a crisis.
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaThis time, come with me: we’ll tour the ruin,
even if the motor sounds like shit, or takes a couple tries to fire.
See? Here is the food counter where Neil Young once jotted lyrics
on a napkin, stranded by a broken van. Here is the overpass we idled by
while the storm engulfed it with debris. Here is the house we thought
was ours to lose, here is the garden—
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahow we lost it is nothing new.