by Allison Linville


I find it interesting that when you sit next to me, you sit up

so straight.  We step on the rotting bridge, patterned


with mustard leaves, stamped down into the creases

of the beams.  One summer, you always propped against trees


to wait for me, to walk.  Did you once maintain that to be

untouchable you will have touched too many people? Behind the ear


or warmly on the shoulder?  This is for protection, which you call

stamps in your passport, which is to say leaving before the sun rises,


which is to say not wetting down the burning duff before rehabbing

the soil.  Sometimes I am so late there is no amusement left


in watching the mail arrive. Sometimes the storms come

from the southeast.  There is humming in my ears, and it is breath


coming in but it is also the wind passing through the pine trees.

I knew this would happen, that larches turn yellow from the top down


in high elevation, but when I see the first one, it feels as though

I must have missed the letter saying you might not make it after all.