Even this far, with two paper cups and miles of taut string, I could describe a ghost of myself. I watched little girls run through a kitchen and into a yard where I played. They hid behind camellias and calla lilies, tangerine fish and a shell-white castle. Marco. They took turns stroking the black cat until he closed his eyes, then came back with the Christmas smell of crushed mint. The clip of parakeets echoes over bare tile. Tonight, there are no stars, no way to run a line from this empty, empty house. The empty sky. The stars have fallen through the day unnoticed, blossoms from a jacaranda against the lavender blue. They’ve dropped into the loose, rolling folds of California like shining children on an unmade bad. Let’s grab the corners of the sheet and pull so that the snap of distance between us shoots them back like laughing rockets into the air. Then we can fold our empty sheet, our map, back carefully in half, then fold again, in half, again, until our hands are touching. Until the distance between us fits in a cabinet. Tie of piece of yarn around my wrist. Marco. Play jump rope with me. Marco. Braid my hair. Come swimming. Don’t let go. Marco. Polo.
Included in The Geography Of Home: California’s Poetry Of Place (Heyday California Poetry Series)