Off 90-West

In the middle of Wyoming, empty
roads with no lights. Nobody else
but you I know for miles around.
Dusty flags, jagged orange treeless
cliffs, car washes.
If you pulled over, jogged out
into the waves of field, I would be
totally alone. The harsh deadness
of the stars. Your hand on the gearshift
covering mine, covering fear.

We are back in the known world,
the contours of love’s isolation softened.
Without you to plan my birthday party,
it will be nothing to speak of. 
Scissored streamers, simple melodies,
everyone huddling
to watch a geyser erupt in pixels
on my phone screen. Your camera
was steadier. Family voices cresting
and breaking on kitchen walls,
my younger self an earring
that stretches from the inside out.

The epic loneliness, the perfect onliness
of love. Wyoming love, endless loop and dead end,
still braking for deer on roads in the middle
of the night. Our tenderness,
when it died, birthed more years
of this same jagged
breathing. Driving back across
ridges of earth, crackling sundown heat,  
signs making everything specific again. 
The deer is gone, the road
dark as soon as our headlights pass on.
Hands shaking, I sing a song.

 

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