Grade A: The Foothills

Written in Albuquerque (Terrace SE), August 2004:  addressed to Leora Byrne.  Published in my books If I Could Be the Stone and Wings of the Gray Moon, and in the journal Arsenic Lobster.

The Foothills


Your house is someone else’s

you write:

the house we strangely bought:


and you’re where you always should’ve been,

up in the foothills

with your own income bracket,

not playing out your gentle life

in this creeping slum.


Your house is someone else’s

and that will assist me

whenever I pause still skittish on that corner

seven years after our car wreck

and can see it down the block.

The mush I made of us

might still attack me

but fainter, now that I know.


The last time your house was someone else’s

it seemed too small to contain such air and freedom.

We dickered only lightly,

being sure.


Why would I want you to go on living there

anyway, among the aftershocks

of horror and defeat?

They could never drown out

how beautiful we were.


Me, I’m doing well,

I’ve got more than my half of the rent for this month.

It’s been forever

since I went to the foothills.