This warm winter makes the creek scream like spring.
I dip my hand in, as far in as my long sleeves let me
Smooth stones, slick, cold life, years in my hands.
My fragile blood beats, knows the water by heart.
It’s good to be wary of the speed of the current
where it licks up upon the shore, sure feet are never a given.
It can bite you, gently, or with unforgiving teeth.
Its noise covers all voices, who’ve come beyond the falls
I head for snow level, it’s high for this time of the year.
Pine needles dot its surface like a mild sprinkling of spice.
Towhees, ravens, and buntings call with haunting songs
An echo between their voices, moves with the forest, downhill.
There, below, near the river and I-84, the creek is a maiden jumping.
Thousands of selfies, one tripod, a few point and shoots
attempt to catch her in the act of hitting the ground.
She refuses to pose.
The wind is amplified by the valley.
A sign, to go no further.
This wind searches ravines, ravages tops of evergreens, escapes up through mountains, lets loose upon a cold sky.
A harsh exhale, a winter bite, snickering past sunrise, diving into sunset, searching for the ocean.
She knows it. It’s a part of her.
She rides…runs. Her scent slips ahead of her.
Then, a lull, a hush, which become wishes, thoughts of the dullness of heat, of a soft warm glow, a purr between rattling storm windows, a cup of soup.
But these are old memories and she’s not sure they’re a part of her like the wind.
Here, she knows she’s one with dead leaves, the falling of rain, the touch of snow. She’s been here forever or so it seems.
But cold is cold. She’s argued with storms more times than she can count. And she must sleep.
The night is a shifty creature.
She lies upon a bed of ferns, pulling dirt, leaves, moss over her body, a live burial, her ritual, to hide from the wind, to become the wild dark. That’s the only way to become invisible.
Her fingers ache.
Tomorrow, she thinks. Tomorrow when the wind dies and the sun stings the forest, she will find her way.
On freezing nights when the river settles, the reflection of city lights is clearer than the real lights. She views this better on the bridge, her winter pilgrimage.
Colder than the air, she grips its handrail. Her hands pull away only at the moment she can’t feel them. It’s that pain she’s after, of her hands warming up after they’ve become numb, filled with little sparkles, needles, the slow throb back to movement.
But the lights found on the river’s surface hold a deeper meaning than pain for her.
She trusts the reflections more than real lights. They have a glimmer that’s missing from the real thing. She knows this not to be true. She knows the side of reflection is fiction, but, in a way, she believes that her wishing, a wishing so deep, so intense, begins to create an alternate reality.
She thinks… No. She knows there are millions of others just like her, wishing as she does. And with that power, alternative realities are coming into being, piece by piece, wish by wish.
Someday she’ll attempt to reach the reflections.
For now, she will settle for a hand on the railing, looking…looking…until she’s numb…again.
She’s on her tiptoes.
The mist stifles all sound, confines sight
Numbs time, suspends the linear
Encloses you in tentative comfort
While scaring you with limitations
You find yourself worried about the quiet
Near the shallow ripples of the lake
Where the hills slant their hardest towards the shore
And the moss smells of old summer
But time isn’t looking for you
Even though you’re looking for it.
The city is not anyone’s anymore,
as if it ever was.
The empty railroad warehouses, where…
Romance wore smudged faces, fought over a tough touch.
Now, old bruises, vanished on the wide surface of skin.
Strong arms refused to let go
Who pretended not to care,
Who spit wry words,
Held each other, tight, ‘til out of breath.
Such young flower stems
Its wild glow of street art
Traced, copied, outlined
Now, a simple trick
An effect, a gloss, an ideal, a movement
Applied like lipstick.
Perhaps, it was always a false city
A worm cut in half, too many times
You want it to cry
You think you can hear it, to make a belief.
But, it’s dangerously quiet at times.
Her house is sunshine, a bright glow. The wind can only brush against her windows, slip away into daylight. She warms her hands against the walls and that heat wears her palms soft. She touches you and you feel it beneath your skin.
Below her house, there’s a street. Each day cars flood its lanes. Their sound seeps through cracks. It dims the house slightly. So, she becomes the moon, but doesn’t know the reason she illuminates. She orbits from room to room.
Little creatures look up to her and smile, purr if they can, nibble on her light. She pets them with hot fingers. But they think she is threadlike, a filament, a passage of current. Slowly, she becomes afraid of moths.
She appears in any room, even rooms they never see. They are frantic, almost as frightened as she. She applies duct tape to the screens of the windows. They eventually find their way in.
When they die, they become powder, dust, which is actually scales diffracting light. Still, they want lucid explanations, about light. Her hands remain torrid.