They Will Sew the Blue Sail

THE LAND | Emily Kendal Frey

We don’t know who we are. In Arizona and New Mexico

and Colorado it doesn’t matter. The word rock. The word river.

A burn pile can smolder underground for years. You think you put it out

and then the mountain explodes. I wish I would more quickly

recognize your suffering. Sick as sunken fruit. If I cut you

you would bleed. Lemon light of June, hovering just beyond

our mouths. A city connected by train sounds. Want moves from my arms so I use the word

beautiful. I mean mystery. Is that lightning in the distance? You say god,

the highway folds its dark arms around us, I say Grand Opening. A car for sale.

A future. I look into the light of tomorrow

and our lost babies look back. My friends stand at the ocean’s edge

while a tree tries to grow on a ridge. We march the beach’s ribcage.

A baby, a branch. The waves, cellular. The fact makes it less frightening, J says. Grief needs

a shape to soften in. I think about your face in my kitchen and a pine blasts

around my chest. I seek out language

to say my love into, an animal blinks. Someone is dying

on the road right now. People are waiting for who

won’t come home. That is a lava dike,

the rancher explains. A crack forms, heat flows.

Sometimes we fucked so much

a gap closed, healed over, and yellow flowers

floated. We went out

into the world at an angle that oiled it: craggy bluffs, a ragged wet

distance now between us. I have been working

my entire life to love you best

in this instant. I am failing, still, at least a little

and this is why I keep

waking up and falling down. Ride into the valley. See the mountains

on either side, asking nothing, palms open, keeping us dying

until we know better to die.