A Modern Woman in the Suburban Wild by Guia Nocon

(for Anne, for Sylvia, and for Tennessee)

It was 4:37 in the morning stepping out.
With no natural light, street lamps
curtsied each to each golden gowns
pooling around their feet.
I walked in shadow.

Feeling small, I traveled
a block and suddenly
Jen touched my shoulder
and we were playing at Anne and Sylvia
in Portland.
We talked of long cures
and all the boys we failed to manipulate
into loving us.

We couldn’t remember
the way home, so
we hid in some Oregon Grape bushes
while the rain misted our faces
just loving each other.

The past is so clear sometimes
it hurts to look at it. Memories
slip through the blood vessels
like a million bits of glass.

Even now I can smell the oil and steel
of the Santa Cruz trestle
that connects the Beach Flats to Seabright,
feel the sleepy drummer beat behind my eyes
as, single file, we followed
the lights of the ferris wheel
into this granite place in our hearts.

Now older, we look like our mothers
and turn away like our fathers.
We have become sadists, cheap
serial daters, boozers,
hopeful, shining, still beautiful.

Losing most things now: friends, brothers,
direction, dignity – whole jet planes
disappearing into greedy, indifferent oceans.

I am afraid.
For godssakes, where is that part of me
that thought everything was funny?

Not laughing now, just searching,
rounding a corner, arms outstretched
to that granite place in your heart,
throwing hallelujahs into the air,
remembering Satie’s mournful piano
during our long cab ride to the basement
in San Francisco, towards Justin’s death,
our dear friend, that beautiful boy.

A stranger’s laughter reaches out to me,
I startle and turn for home.
Searching through motion what I lost in space.

It’s unsettling to realize that there are
wild parts of this world
where you can still get irretrievably lost.

This Earth,
it is such a big, blinding place
full of things we can’t ever know
and we are such small, bewildered
creatures.

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