down a winding upward path, flung
into fate’s maw, seeking.
maybe there was meaning
deeper than the thoughts of you, lost,
the bloom of hibiscus
and imagined jasmine; forget justice,
price of too few, perfect minutes
singing against a wind that twisted:
around us, the hillsides, my inhibitions,
pressed me deep into your pockets
playing viscerally with
all i had left of high ground.
uphill over the skeletons of roots
clotted with dried earth i stalk,
not sure yet if i’m on the right path
but sure i had to come this way uphill,
always uphill, by the curve of the lake,
hot dense air hanging over the surface,
dulling the reflection of a too-bright sun
on my thoughts, which, broken,
flutter on a non-existent breeze:
blind mice, caged by a fate
with a sense of the melodramatic,
caught at the water’s edge and afraid
to look back;
we skim the surface like those heavy
dragonflies, biting at the bitter air,
as significant, as singular as the dried
leaf from last year’s autumn, which
hangs still on an oak dripping over the shallows
and brushes against my cheek as i pass,
whispering of things which have not yet come.
“You will find yourself,”
said the half-inch slip of thin paper
folded carefully inside a mass-produced shell
of blandness and sugar that had been
haphazardly tossed on the fake-mica table;
patronization leavened with
the plasticity of the dough, polite pink font
smiling up at me with closed lips.
I silently added, allowing half the dry-witted confection
to slide awkwardly past my tongue,
admitting a departure from the normal
innuendo of things,
worn out from searching
down the wrong alleys
and fumbling in a darkness
of too many wrong turns.
The other half, meanwhile,
lay rejected to one side
of a cheap patterned plate,
clean now but for a grease-stained napkin
crumpled on top.
I wonder, does destiny always taste
like the memory of shiny heels
kicking relentlessly against
the back of a pew, shuffling forward
with hands folded toward the front
of the communion line?
For “tomorrow” I would have swallowed it whole.