we made maps

 

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I dreamed of drawing maps together, you and me.
I wanted an adventure, and I got one, I guess.

You loved that I talked about shifts, not bumps. Lines on a page, I said.
We can follow them all, and we can draw more. Our own, I said.

You saw where I was going.

If we had phone lines they would have tangled and knotted from repeated use.
We had cells, calling out to each other from half a country away
Until the air dissipated and we found ourselves face to face.

We drew those maps, my lines wandering, yours more direct.
We danced those maps, our hands soft, finding the steps.

Rivers and Roads, we sang.
The head and the heart.

We drew maps
But you liked blueprints.

I followed rivers, you wanted structure.

Walls make me feel safe, you said.
Rivers make my soul soar, I said.

I followed my rivers and came to your home.

You wanted to build up.
I wanted to wind around.

You wanted to know where the bricks should go.
I wanted to walk through the grass.

I look now at the maps we drew.
Some marked with barriers, others with bridges.
Some showed oceans, vast and flicked with silver.

Our road trips were made of laughter, stories,
roadside chicken, stone collecting, sunsets,
and the best playground in Seattle.

Dancing On the Moon, we sang.
We fell into the sky.

Those maps weren’t lines on a page.
Those maps are ours, and I hold them close.

I was looking out the window when you jumped ship.

I hadn’t even known we were in a ship —
Unless it was that hotel boat on the river in Chattanooga, where we got wine on the deck,
Slept in a small white room bobbing up and down, rolling into our future.

One day, I looked down to check our coordinates.
I suddenly saw your dotted lines, the places where you had run off the page.

I looked up and you were gone.

My mountains came between us.
Your trees were too tall for me to see.
One kept falling, over and over, making maps in your yard.
Bumps, not shifts.
Bigger ones than I knew.

We planted a garden
But your house was your own.

I was floating on ocean waves.
You were swimming for shore.

We didn’t go camping.
We waded in water.
We forgot to watch for bears.
I watched the birds, and showed them to you.

You kissed me on Sunday
But left the next Friday.
Whiplash, I said.
I don’t know where I am.

The map got lost.

I had been packing bags for our new journey
Preparing pages to draw new maps.

Off in a new direction, we said.
An adventure, we said.

I thought you sat next to me, ready to drive
Or at least to build.

This isn’t flyover country, I said to us both.

But somehow I didn’t see you flying over me —
Flying back to the corn, to the park, to your pillow,
Flying back, once again, to the places you know.

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