Hwy 87 outside Scottsdale, AZ

Twisted cactus,
I fear those thorns
this fear of being
so close to you
what's wrong with me
this feels so familiar
so much like
I thought you were ten feet tall... where I I saw you
just came from. on the road into Phoenix
just me and the car,
out for days
I had to stop and get out
in the angry traffic
to believe you were real;
until I came here
I think you just grew here I'd never seen
right by the road on your own a living thing like you.
with no one to tell you you can't,
and me just last week
and two thousand miles back
would have envied you then.
I thought you were
ten feet tall,
this memory of dad
when I was small
and you too, stood
in the midst of my chaos, You weren't green
harsh, awesome and silent. like the picture cartoons
with coyotes hiding behind you
you were like me, imperfect and real
flecks, splotches and dust,
a motionless hobo, covered in stubble;
you, by the side of the road,
the towering vagrant,
me, running girl, out here with you
both misfits, a pair,
I cried for us both
This close, a tear shared
your skin had gouges for you and for me.
some hadn't healed well
I had to touch them,
part curious,
part of me crying to comfort
I thought of your pain,
remembering mine
I said a prayer, A piece of metal
hoping someone would hear. had buried inside you
I couldn't tell
which part of a car
it had been once
Your flesh had grown over it
I carefully touched it
holding my breath and afraid
But you'd healed
and I've come here
hoping to heal
When I drove off so maybe I've finally found
I watched in the mirror: the right place.
you, staying behind,
while I kept leaving
it felt so familiar,
and I kept telling myself
with practice,
this should hurt less
each time.
Jon Bohrn (1999)

 

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