When the train driver thinks you’re pretty, he holds the doors 8 seconds longer than he’s supposed to. The drunk Russians don’t notice you running, split a small pink pill, and enjoy their ride. I miss fall. The pumpkin bread still baking in the pan under my arm is just an offering, a wish on some distant star that is really a planet all along and thus lost. Under the foil it sweats, needs a breath.
This time, two years ago, I’d have gourds on my porch, the mornings would bark in my bones saying, “Wake up! Toss your sheets. To the frost!” Today, it’s 99 degrees, which means 79 to the rest of the world. We pass a park. City workers tend the grass like oncologists. Stage 3. This patch has a chance.
Two women say: “…it’s the most peaceful way to die…” and I can only assume they mean drowning. But how can they know? Peaceful past the panic. I’ve never seen anyone ante up, saying “Yup. Most peaceful way! Nailed it.”
But maybe they meant “in your sleep,” which would become a long unbroken dream, which makes me want to fall asleep with only love in my heart. There are so many questions my iPhone can’t answer. Dying is dying. Not even Steve Jobs could rebrand that.
I breathe in someone’s skunk. Take the pot into my lungs like I take love before it leaves: hold and hold and hold as long as I can for the high to kick in, then let it out in imperfect rings.
Rachel Van Blankenship is a poet/photographer/designer raised in Northern California. She studied Photojournalism and Creative Writing at The University of Montana, Missoula and has recently relocated to Phoenix, Arizona to daylight as a designer. Her nomadic tendencies have moved her to Oklahoma, Texas, and Pennsylvania. Menacing Hedge, Gather Kindling, and JMWW have published her poems and she recently placed 4th in the international Flash Mob 2013 competition. She is working on her first poetry manuscript.