In the dream, I drive up into the mountains with my mother, and we need to turn around, but first I pull over to a view of the city. It’s a collage of pipes and buildings, bathed in light, glowing blue and silver, full of curves and lines like the painting of a city I gave to my mother as a child. I gaze at it and hold her hand, and I know we have to return, drive the curvy roads along pine and spruce where the bears forage, the mountain lions hunt, and the pinecones fall.
Did I ever tell you how much I miss my mother? Did I ever tell you how she painted portraits, and I cities; she faces, and I buildings? If you merged our work, you would have to ask my sister for the landscapes. Then we would see something complete.
I have never felt complete. I have lost those I love and I have lost my way in the woods until I descended to a fishery, boxed-in streams of trout in the mountains, rows of them, and the building with a tin roof and a man smoking in front of it. He took me home in a truck. I thought of the fish, how small their home.
I have lost so much and sometimes I fear I’ll lose you.
In the dream I know I’ll turn around. I always return to my home with pipes like intestines and you pounding chicken to make cordon bleu, to my children who are about to leave us, to our dog sprawled on the red Oriental rug. I always return, carrying the city in my eyes—I in high heels waiting tables, men with their jackhammers, children emptying brick schools. I return with the mountains on my shoulders and the faces of my family, eyes hooded with melancholy or as bright as light on water.
They look right at you through the paint’s oil, and my sister is always moving, looking for new landscapes. She seeks the succulent sea of the South, the cypress with their root-legs, the prairies with their barns. I just know mountains. That’s where I found you. That’s where I’m always turning around. And you are home and you are not home and our lines are as tenuous as an autumn rain, as the brush of paint on a canvas once so open, so empty, so past, so complete without us.
is a poet and fiction writer in Boulder, Colorado, and lives with her two children, husband, and pets. Her publications include Beside Herself (Flutter Press, 2010) and two full-length collections from Word Tech Editions, Rust (2016) and Coming Up for Air (2018). Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize four times. Currently, she is an instructor of English at Front Range Community College and tutors. When not writing or teaching, she swims miles in pools and runs and hikes in the open space of Colorado’s mountains and plains.
Author’s website: www.kikadorsey.com