feet across gravel
running underpass dips and rises
and returning
pink-skinned and sweat-faced

zinnia lei of
pinks, reds, whites, oranges, yellows
i drape over her head
to rest on neck and say
on the train platform welcome
to the tropical paradise
of missouri

she hands me a crab mold-made
melted-down candle scrap wax gift wrapped
in wrinkling plastic
(smell of gallina canyon
front porch – rosey)
just before i joke about
putting my business shoes back on
while stepping out of glitter flats and
into sandals
like a wall i say of the
insect sound lushness
liana in the passenger seat
leans her head out the window
on the county highway to greet

liana how-are-you-doings the cashier
asking her how her name (spelled leanna on the tag)
is pronounced and revealing that
her name is liana
but is often pronounced leanna

curving our way down the
park entrance road i tap her thigh
every time it’s her turn to echo me
in the song
(when i was young
i was the sun
shining through the trees
down to the ground
when i was young
i was the mountain…)
one worth remembering/singing again
she says

she complements my
upper lip sweat
to which i respond

the pause of a million days
lined up next to each other
to the do-you-want-to-break-up-with-me
question which hurts to think about
because i hadn’t considered it quite
in those terms
(instead, the language was
about edges and efforts)

mermaiding my body down
into forest lake water
at thousand hills state park
hoping to be gifted the answer
i don’t want to give
that i already carry inside me
while liana blanket-waits
in sequin rainbow tiger stripe hat and
puerto rican bottoms

side-swiped she says
on our blanket at meager beach
where the sun is too much(for the non-desert-dweller)
and the people are too many
and even a coconut water
doesn’t taste good
maybe isn’t a yes i say
when i ask if i can
it’s not a no either
she responds
so i thigh/hold fingergrasp
until i need another hand to turn the wheel
you are a dazzling constellation
in my sky i say hanging on tight
in last grasps teary and sniffling you
she says are a photograph
of a dream
if you ever want to find me i say
i’ll be out on that rock
along the rio
if you ever want to find me she says
i’m in your bed

one of the most extraordinary humans
she says i’ve ever met my forehead
pressing into her shoulder
one of the most amazing and exquisite creatures
i say i‘ve ever known

how i grasp
as she with backpack
backtracks to trainstation
where our day began
how i want to stay/wait
how i want to write and return with
how i want to undo/not undo
how i consider leaving
but all i can do is stare at gravel
until muscles and brain pull it together
to turn ignition key and slow-roll

from broken open i say
to broken
a rodeo out there trish says
about weaving (like slolem)
through the three sisters
on the riding mower
who else would put umlauts on it
trish and i laugh as i identify
nina as the mystery sun card maker/leaver
grief ritual trish suggests paper boats
a watery softness/motion to letting go
and how she holds me when i ask
if i can curl in


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