Every memory came back to Cal Anderson, where Olive tees at the park, coupled with subtle justifications for staying stuck in romantic comings-of-age this far removed from the landslide. Like one of these days, we’ll move on. I’ll move on. Rumor always had it that the plates would shift, and the new city would sink just the same as the old, bound by time and the way everything novel loses its sheen.


I stepped heavy down Denny and took comfort in knowing that the bookstores were still as brick and susceptible to mortar as I felt beneath friendly fire that started to fall one day (I can’t remember when it began, and I didn’t pick the fight), and hasn’t stopped. Like my own private war, cortexes hemorrhaging between temples where I’d kneel and pray to God not-quite-convinced he wasn’t listening and hope it’d be salvific enough to make the cut.


Dirty rags.


Take them and drape them over your son.




Help him out. Keep him warm. Let him know how hard we’re trying to make it out of the trenches.


Trust is a minefield and everywhere you step there’s a chance you’ll hit a dud, or an explosive. Either way – the risk is certain (and) – I’m paralyzed by the choices, so the lemons are just as dangerous as everything flammable with all my confidence in the shadow of a doubt.


You invited me to lay my burdens at your feet, and rest. I chose to clothesline them like trophies between the nails, instead.


Maybe someday you’ll become a scarecrow so covered with my pretense that I’ll forget about your nudity, tossing lots to divide what moth has rebranded rust for antique, and wonder why you just can’t seem to come down off that cross. Maybe I already forgot the same way I still can’t place these shell games or where to jump when everything I’m afraid of nullifies your promises.


I mistook power for the public display of it.


End me with all of your foolishness. I want nothing more than to hold your hand, and cross the street.