One can hear the electrical wires in the rain near the scattered towns.
Your voice is still under those lines, in one town or another, poking around old man bars.
You wanted to see where the forest ditched the highway, where the grid no longer gripped feral ferns and moss.
We picnicked next to the river, sandwiches and wine. The rain had stopped, left to playing only with leaves.
You were scared of the forest, its sounds. The very thing you thought you protected.
I never told you, the road is hidden on the other side underneath the trees, behind the wild rhododendron.
Traffic is far and few between, a crawl, especially after winter’s scarring of pavement.
I can see you, running for the parking lot, back to the towns, the wires, fear in your eyes.
Sometimes, to be honest, I wish I could be as scared as you.
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.
Running through the mud, laughing like a feral forest child with no concept of language. My body, the only means of communication, flying down Macleay creek trail, passing the Witch’s House. I swear I float above the trail. Then on Wildwood, even the sounds of the shipyards can’t humble my magic. I am the mud, the fern, the bobcat, the pygmy owl, hunter of twilight, snapping, gulping foggy sunbeams poking their shadows between slender conifers. I look to my skin to see if it’s on fire. There aren’t flames, at least the kind one can see. And it does not burn in the sense of pain, but from inside me.
Dragging my untied shoes in Sunnyside, my feet like claws on the pavement. Closing the car door, running shoes dangling from my hand, they are stuffed with a couple of twenties, debit card, license, house keys. My limbs ache for a shower and a beer. Kids from the school pass by, laugh. My body, the only means of communication, hands, red, wrinkled, veins and arteries…caked mud on my knees. I am the transient, the poor, a beggar, schizo. The sun is a fool and a lover. I look to my skin to see if it’s on fire. Ashy. The kids aim their cellphones at me.