Mindoro, poem by Rhiannon Thorne

I was two thou­sand miles of corn­fields away from us,
hours from Min­doro, that shit­ty fold-out, your daddy's car
and a key­stone night
when you saun­tered in,
eyes blaz­ing from a teenage drunk,
and your arms bare
hang­ing like bat­tle axes.

I was home in the vineyards,
I had grape bunch­es on my eye­lids, the taste of the sea on my tongue,
a sticky salt, a thing to suck­le at like taffy.
I was already mak­ing my bed beneath the redwoods,
I had their nee­dles in my hair
and their scent pressed against my spine.
I had giv­en up your dusty road, your end­less Wis­con­sin skies,
the taste of my tongue against your chest,
a six­teen sodi­um chloride.

I said,
I'm tele­port­ing away from this place, this one night
in my intox­i­cat­ed stum­ble and my earthy feet.
I said,
who needs fin­gers full of oil stains, creas­es dark
like noir
against their flesh,
like they were build­ing some­thing living?

I want so much my west coast air,
a full breath with­out paw­ing at my cow­boy killers.
I want my traf­fic lights like lazy eyes
and horns like heartbeats.
I want so much to want my hum and drum of a sub­ur­ban city,
my beer-stained vagabonds with their paper bag pen­chants and sham­bly walks,
a street full of mid­dle-class zombies.

I am here. My toes on a dusty road,
the stars crack­ing against the sky,
my stom­ach in protest, argu­ing the air smells sweet­er here,
your sweat was a perfume,
I was some­thing to plant and harvest.

There is a heavy price for your youth,
There is a heavy price for my pine trees shoot­ing like arrows at the skies,
There is a heavy price for let­ting my heart thrum,
clap, clat­ter, clunk
six­teen again.

Rhi­an­non Thorne grew up in the Bay Area of Cal­i­for­nia, a cou­ple hours north of San Fran­cis­co in the wine coun­try, which explains both her obses­sive recy­cling and pen­chant for wine. Always an ambler, she cur­rent­ly lives in Phoenix, AZ with her body of choice, Jen­ner. She received her BA in Eng­lish at Sono­ma State Uni­ver­si­ty, has recent­ly been pub­lished in Grawlix and The Leg­end, and is the co-edi­tor of the lit­er­ary pub­li­ca­tion cahoodalood­al­ing.


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