Crowded winter day
at the laundromat,
never enough dryers.
Mountains of folded clothes
move into baskets
and plastic garbage bags.
My vision may not be yours
but we can help each other
learn to see.
The magic land lies within
everything that ever was
or ever was imagined.
I’m pacing around Christine’s little house
on a hillside in a redwood grove,
sketching through the picture window
the waterfall roaring across the street.
This happened quickly.
She was thinking about me all day.
I played her some songs
on her ex-roommate’s dreadful guitar.
We bounced around on her waterbed
while her heavy dog jumped on and off,
making tsunamis all night long.
We went to the beach in the rain,
discussing our human connection.
I saw something like love in her eyes.
She called me at her home from work,
as I was leaving for the long drive home,
to tell me road conditions were bad.
She was right. Don’t ask me how
I got to Fort Bragg, but here I’m stuck.
I came back to Christine two days ago.
We spent most of the first day making love
on her ex-roommate’s spring mattress.
Here her dog jumping on and off
only made minor bedquakes.
I was surprised when she called me “babe,”
when we got into the shower.
The mudslides and flooded roads
are making us stay together
longer than she wanted.
She feels vulnerable and scared.
Quick thoughts become real
because I hold them
and let them carry me
to feelings of despair.
Let me release each thought
as it comes, and watch
through my window
the rainy forest.
My cat Charcoal doesn’t like
to be here while I start the fire.
Cracks of kindling being split
send him bolting for the cat door.
Siren is undisturbed by these things
and continues eating crunchies.
Paper crumples, lighter sparks,
the stove begins to warm the room.
By the time I finish breakfast,
Charcoal comes in, wet and cold,
and crawls underneath the stove.
It’s March, and already
moths pace my window,
misguided by the light.
In perfect symmetry,
agents only want novelists
who have already published a book,
and publishers only want novels
sent to them by agents.
copyright © 2005 Carl Miller
Painting, “Spring Flood”: 1995, acrylic on watercolor paper, 12 x 18 inches, detail 12 x 16 inches. The waterfall across the street from Christine’s house.