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It should have been the man in the white coat,
But he wore a blazer and a tie.
“Let’s put our heads together,” he said to his companion,
One new to all this, as I was.
They were speaking code for something
But I knew it when I heard it
The Conductor punching that ticket at last.
La Veta 2/18
To the west are a flying fish goddess,
a palm frond dying Jesus crucifix
a tin painting of Mary and Son
a backwards flowing om
A painted Guadalupe
And small photographs of our children
To the east are a pile of notebooks
A jar of pens, three knives
And a black magazine of pistol ammunition
Electronic things on wires
A flashlight no bigger than your little finger
And a print of a Geisha with sticks in her hair.
The miracle is
Her’s is the west,
Mine is the east,
We are still becoming one
After all these years.
La Veta 4/18
The old man was in a box.
Even when he bothered to come home
he was still in a box
inattentive, distant, lost in his other lives
which we knew little about
but were always there with him
inside his box.
The old man was in a box
or, precisely what was left of him
after the incinerator and the drunks’ memorial.
I eventually took him
in his box
and poured him into Bean Creek
which took him to the Rio Grande
and on to the Gulf
where it all began.
My son and I have traveled seven days across ten states to pause at home before driving on to the California coast.
One of his boxes is open on the floor, disks spill out, their titles in Japanese. I don’t recognize most of his possessions. We have been apart many years.
He has become a mix of my little boy and a fully grown man steeped in complex worlds I only dimly understand.
This is how it should be.
But I struggle to nurture that little boy I held in my arms one mountain summer day long ago, smiling at one another as the cold stream tumbled and murmured of things to come below us on the wooden bridge.
sitting in the station waiting
ticket in hand
the soaring columns disappear into the darkness
lights flood in
people sit and move about
some seem to disappear without warning
others appear from the ticket windows taking their places
attendants move through the crowd
giving bread and wine
“Wait,” they say. “Wait.”
outside you see green hills
leaving the station you meet a child
who smiles and takes your hand
there are no trains.
Would Jesus like a woman
In tight jeans
With sequined crosses
On each cheek?