my image of you was that you grew up on the west coast
in nevada or new mexico
i have you placed in the desert, with agnes martin
and you've been listening to mahler and grieg and john denver your whole life.
now you don't listen to music
because it clouds the air.
that's about as far as i've gotten.
obviously that isn't true
you said that
and I suddenly I was thinking of other lives and other universes
of Georgia O’Keefe painting cracks and bones and deep folds of flowers
of turkey vultures and mice scurry-stop, scurry-stop across the sand
of Lily Briscoe with her chinese eyes trying to paint her vision
(Mrs Ramsay looking out to the lighthouse)
you said that
and I remembered the Pacific Ocean
from the coast, from the clouds, grey expanse with grey sky and grey sand
we drove all day through winding green hills just to see that water
and I remember thinking, this must’ve been what Lewis and Clark felt like
(and what of Sacagawea?)
I like your characterization of me, even if it isn’t true
now let me paint a picture of you
my image of you is that you live
in a house framed by rotting wood and aluminum siding
you stare out windows down dirt and gravel roads
sipping a cup of coffee.
I imagine you jogging with headphones in the cold dusk.
as you jog, the tarmac transforms into a sulfur bog
populated by sirens and creatures from Bosch’s garden of earthly delights
and you’re suddenly wearing gloves and carrying a shovel,
opening up the wet maw of the black soil
ghost memories fly out and assault you.
for some reason, I see you with a half smile on your face when that happens.