Into the Evergreen Wash

“I confess I tortured the dress
that you wore for the world to look through.”
—Leonard Cohen, “One of Us Cannot be Wrong”

I wait in a pew to be next
to unburden my soul.
Or is this sacrament about the heart?
I confuse the two.

I count to three.
I confess the real reason
I don’t drive: I have trouble
unfastening seat belts,

unlocking and opening doors,
understanding how headlights work,
distinguishing your car from hers.
I confuse the two.

I collapse two memories
into one to save
space, time, energy, or
nothing at all.

What I would give
for a glimpse of that dress
he tortured. Or to touch it gently—
careful not to rip the fragile

fabric of the story.
Translucent not transparent.
Not every part
is worth repeating.

I get my picture taken
leaning against the knuckle
of the Fremont Troll’s left
trigger finger.

He won’t release his grip
on that VW bug
he’s been clutching
for 27 years. I confess

a fear of those beetles
comes into play too.

Another city waterfront.
I want to run alongside it,
not in it. I have not forgotten
how to swim or tread water.

I just know now I could sink
to the bottom
even with the ocean salt
offering buoyancy.

The seam in the torso
I have only read about before
startles and embarrasses me
when I see it in the flesh.

Don’t stare. I can’t stop.
The eyes and mouth
attached to the torso
give nothing away.

Memoir and poem.
Poem and memoir.
Somewhere the story
must stand up and walk through

blackness into an urban evergreen
forest in order to begin.

I live stanza to stanza,
hopping on trains,
falling off the edge
where motion meets a mirror

of itself. Suddenly,
I remember exactly
where and when I learned
to walk backwards.

A buoy bell spells out a rhythm
for waves as they slam against
a stationary ship. The two become
fused in the distance.

2 thoughts on “Into the Evergreen Wash

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