I imagined the man handling flares was handing out sparklers,
huge trees turned us into children with forbidden treats.
Still I held fast as my tires slid in the switchbacks;
since the past can message us at any minute.
Breaking into coastal towns, in milk fog
we bobbed like bait to Mendocino
where landowners were only armed with rakes.
I relaxed. I chilled. I forgot, but I never forget.
In the toilet I saw under the door
Doppelganger shoes of her, the drunk who ruined four men
and then went slyly into today’s convent, dementia. I felt the flare catch
my mind, racing to a dark beach, where my mistakes barked out their orders.
I sat across from you. Don’t you see? This was a woman for poison apples.
You put your arms around me, becoming one more lover to un-tower.
Merridawn Duckler is a poet, playwright from Portland, Oregon. Recent poetry in TAB: Journal of Poetry and Poetics (best of the web nomination), International Psychoanalysis, Otis Nebula, Rogue Agent, The Offing, Unbroken Journal, forthcoming from Blue Lyra, Free State Review, Yellow Chair Review, Crab Creek Review, Literary Orphan, Birds Piled Loosely, TXTOBJX, inter/rupture. She was runner-up for the poetry residency at the Arizona Poetry Center, judged by Farid Matuk, and a finalist at Center for Book Arts and Tupelo Press. Recent prose in Poetica and humor in Defenestration. Finalist for the 2016 Sozoplo Fiction Fellowship. Awards include Writers@Work, NEA, Yaddo, Squaw Valley, SLS in St. Petersburg, Russia, Southampton Poetry Conference with Billy Collins, others. She’s an editor at Narrative and the international philosophy journal Evental Aesthetics.