In my new town, I took to riding horses
for their salt sweat, mucked out
to pay for it. Took my bike
and travelled roads until
when a kid said he lived on Pine
or Washington or de Fries or Elm, I knew
what he meant. I kept a map from
“The Tax Collector’s Record” in my room.
When I got home I crayoned over
where I’d been. When all the map
was color, I’d own that town.
I did what girls do, painted my nails
Cherry Ripe, wound hair around pink
porcupines, made sausages which should
when brushed form wings of sheen
and didn’t. Jack never wrote, but once,
becalmed ashore by days of gales,
carved a model and sent it. It arrived
smashed. I tried to re-rig it. In the end
it looked capable of sailing in one
small circle, alist, bewildered.
Inland trees were godawful big.
They didn’t moan, didn’t clatter.
Sometimes when I rode a brown horse
In a brown November wood
I thought I had ceased to exist.
©2003, pomme press