Julie Brooks Barbour
My lover warns me not to go beyond the backyard
or down the long hallway. He leaves with no
indication he will return. The day becomes longer.
I watch potted plants grow new tendrils.
I turn in circles around my fixed space.
When I walk down the hall, static fills
my brain. It feels like what I know of bees
and sudden bursts of noise. I return
to my space. The plants spread new leaves.
I stare at the backyard, its stone walkway.
While Downtown Buildings Burn
Flames rise along with sirens and smoke.
He leaves directions and the hiding places
of his best weapons. There is a kiss.
There are words from his mouth
I cannot hear above the scanner.
His note tells me to line doors
with blankets and not to leave
the apartment. The first thing I do
is start a fire in the street to call him back.
After the Fire
I sort through the damage.
A field guide of birds curls into ashes.
I clean the warped lenses
of my binoculars with a shirttail.
Every piece of furniture stands charred.
Friend, you give me a place to stay
until I can right myself. You invite
someone I have not seen in years,
who I thought lost to the past.
His hair and face shine
like when we were young.
I sink into the years between us,
his dark hair like a set of wings.
His eyes glimmer as if he might fly away.
At the End of a Long Driveway
Low visibility this morning.
A thick mist tightens my curls
while I wait in front of a house.
Wheels grind gravel. A motor slows.
The curved outline of a car appears,
emerges from the fog, and stops.
No door opens. No window
eases down. No one
steps out. I brush
damp curls from my forehead,
the slightest twitch in my hand.