soundtrack: in this shirt
(though i prefer in this shadow)

in the dream i took the orange line
out of the city
in the bay/not bay
no destination just rolling
meaning to step off somewhere and wander
and a plastic bag in my hand
the light was yellow
and the doors opened at
the end of the line
(mostly english when i stepped into the car
and mostly spanish when i step out)
looking like marin county
only smalltown
and working
i accidentally follow the man
out train car doors and in industrial doors
which, by the looks and smell of it (cows off in the distance
packed body to body)
is a factory farm
bales of hay coming apart on concrete
when he notices me
he decides to share this
allows me to come along
come with me
he says
but you don’t write factual poems, do you?
(translation: you won’t reveal this to the world, will you?)
which ironically is the first thing he says/asks
(having never spoken before
having never revealed my poet status)
those are the only kind i like to read
he says, admittedly
as a matter of fact, i do
i say
(translation: i will be paying very careful attention
and taking notes in my head if i can’t use a pen
i will expose/show the world what goes on here)
and despite failing this caveat
i am allowed along
as if he openly doesn’t want me to expose this place
and secretly he does
i am his little whistleblower
and then i am sitting in a camper/trailer
high off the ground
a circle of high-school aged workers
with their morning eyes and lunch bags
they do this work everyday and they know
that half of it is waiting
so we wait
while i ask where everyone is from
later, he’s back and asks the crew what they think of me
she’s weird
one of them says and most of them agree
looking to understand what kind of weirdness he means i propose
because i ask boring adult questions?
which he confirms as a yes
and then the he leaves again
takes his seat at the steering wheel and we are rolling bumping backwards
along some road i’ve never been on


object: white candle
for the lioness
and her mama’s boy
lit, flame thrashing


as of this morning, weeks has been edited
to  days
vertebrae turning to dust

which is why i take photos
of color and light
to send along the longitudinal express

which is why i have to dig my fingers into the dirt
(to stop crying long enough)

which is why i tell you
i can barely believe
this collapsing of time
and why i say
that i wish i could take these minutes in my  hands
stretch them out to become  hours
what i forgot to say is
the longer i could stretch the time
the tinier the pain would get
until it outright disappeared
so you could hear her laugh

which is why when you say
i love her more than the sky
i say i know,
and even though i don’t know her sky-equivalent
she loves you more than it too
and this might be what’s holding her here
pinned to earth by the gravity of kin, of care
pinned to earth by her superhuman will/strength
to not leave you

which is why i want to include
the silence you are holding for her
(and how even though i didn’t know as much yesterday
it makes sense
my inwardness
a structure of silence i built here)

which is why you told her
she raised you well
and you are strong enough now
for her to leave

which is why i say
you two are
the strongest humans in the universe at the moment

which is why i plant an entire bed
of marigolds
and await gold-red petals unfurling
like a lioness mane