1 / Echo Park

It’s funny, isn’t it
how you can know someone for a long time
without actually knowing them at all.

Sunset Blvd, smelling of tuberose
orange wine
Ex girlfriends
His green card
“is it actually green?” (I still don’t know)
and his own surprise at the emotion
as he told me it had finally come through

silk dress, old sweatshirt
12am at my front door
A woman walking by with her dog
The sidewalk full of our kisses

At 1:17am,
a quote he’d been trying to remember earlier at the bar:
“Instead, I squirreled away small things…”

2 / Lechuza Beach

What’s the longest your hair has ever been?
What do you eat for breakfast?
How did your parents meet?

A new moon, the beach deserted.
Our bodies side by side on a ripped up quilt.
His hands in my hair under
my dress the skin hot
from the sun.

he said, “I’ve never
stepped into the Pacific Ocean”
and something in me lit up.
I grabbed his hand and we stood
just before that wet lip of sand.

He began to take one more step in but I held him back:
you have to let it come to you.

I spent the rest of the day shaking sand from my hair,

waking up the next morning to find it between my sheets.

(We were stuck in traffic halfway to the beach and I said,
“I’m the most single I’ve ever been in my life.”

He laughed uncertainly, asked,
“what does that mean?”

but I wasn’t sure how to explain.

Later, I realized
what I meant was this:

I’ve stopped searching for another person to shield me from the experience of myself.)

3 / La Mancha Verde

36 hours in the desert.

I make a list of the strange things that happen:
the dragonfly between the sheets,
how it fluttered
and almost broke its wing
as I tried to coax it outside.

And the ghost,
of course. How it asserted its presence,
demanded our attention as it raced through the cabin
midday as we lay in bed. One door, slam,
second door, SLAM. The air conditioner
suddenly buzzing to life. And afterwards
how I thought, ah yes, of course they exist.
So now I know.

How much film did you bring? and I shrugged. Everything I have. The bed its own strange work of art, deevolving over the course of the two days like an ocean tide spilling up onto land. Burgers for dinner. Awake at 5am, full sun through the curtains. The back porch. Waiting to make coffee, not wanting to wake him. By midmorning, finally, delicious. Black coffee and full sun, is there anything better? Sex midday. Homemade bread. Cherries. Peaches. Four bottles of wine. An entire day spent reading my best friend’s book, a world of salt and witches and oceans. Bare feet. Bare skin. I teach him how to use my camera, my favorite, the one I loved completely the first moment I held it in my hands.

All of this for the kisses, remember? All of this to see how much I could walk the line between life and art and autobiography and invention without ever fully giving myself over to just one.

I hold court over the world of in-between, my own ethereal kingdom.