A stream of crows circles the old oaks, blaring call and response above the bed-and-breakfast bungalows. They’ve made this dead-end street their own, a murder swooping in at sunset and returning at dawn to slay sleep. The air is calm, paths damp from yesterday’s rain, a lacework of pepper tree bent toward vines along a wrought-iron fence. More rain is coming, and the help is out early, wielding hoses to wash tiled paths clean.
Half your lifetime ago, you chose this forest town at the foot of the mountains, rented a room in the stone house on this spot. The façade is unchanged—a quaint touch anchoring newly overbuilt stucco. From here, you can walk to the mist-shrouded foothills, like you used to do to move your life forward. Once your heart broke at having to go. Now you know what this memory has become: a stopping-off place you can leave again and again.
lives in the Mojave Desert near Joshua Tree National Park. Her poems have appeared
in journals such as Spillway, Crab Creek Review, Apercus, Askew, San Pedro River
Review, Mojave River Review, The Coil, and Split Rock Review. Her work
has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. She is the author
of nine poetry collections and co-editor of the anthology A Bird Black As the Sun:
California Poets on Crows & Ravens.
Author’s website: www.cynthiaandersonpoet.com