Ripplewood in the Redwoods

Across Highway One
from where I slept, from where a hummingbird swept
into the brush to alert me to another

day, I wait.

Fog never fully rolls back to reveal
those mountaintops but allows the sun to be exposed
and exposing

as hours progress. Seams between
sky, ocean, cliff
recede. I’m not waiting—I’m opening receptacles

to turn-outs and drop-offs and rock-ons.

Pacific Saudade

This Noguchi sculpture encased
in glass on the departures level inside the San Francisco Airport soothes

my incurable longing
for what those Big Sur rocks would not release. That he could have been

my soul mate doesn’t matter—he’s been gone
since I was a young woman. That this other creator

of darkest beauty could be is
a lie I tell myself

to keep my feet from straying
off the cliff side path. I believe in

an art that mates soul to soul for a moment. And that is enough
to fly home on.

In a Serious Room

“Waiting like a longbodied emaciated Modigliani surrealist woman in a serious room.”
—Jack Kerouac, On the Road

She who passes
the art test will be cursed
with elongated worry—the weight
of aluminum confused

with its atomic
number 13. She never believed
a number could sink her

dream. Has not encountered quick
sand, is not willing to take
the risk. She takes high

bridges over vehicles to knock
the wind from her diaphragm
of fear, pauses abnormally long

before crossing
any street. Then she runs a quick
rodent race across, laughing

all the way
at herself. She knows how
to do that—has been

doing it for years.
Even as she prepares her face
for that stranger she believes

would catch her before
she spilled over a cliff,
she giggles at the distortion
in the mirror.

Guardian Angel with a Blues Harp

—not a lute. Storms
have passed. Acoustic mass
wraps black
and tangles up inside 

the brick wall. Some of it will seep
through. More will remain the ivy
of darkness outside 

my window. Alone, I risk 

the walk outside at night
toward a museum, fuzzed-out
guitar and drums loop
around a gallery 

on an upper floor. Alone, I imagine 

I will peer over
a cliff, will listen
for human voices amidst the ocean 

roar in Big Sur,
will hope to see an otter,
will hope to hear some small sign
that you’re out there watching 

over me without knowing
that’s what you do. I keep
my distance—solitude
is my drug 

of choice. There’s nothing left to fear.