Of Maps and Paintings

The sky is orange
peeling away cool and
moist after the rain.

Out on the road
the gravel of his voice
is rounding the bend

rattling the window
panes, shaking my
reflection in a glass

of water. Since I
knocked over the
lantern, caused stock

prices to plummet and
bankers to leap from
skyscraper windows,

stolen fire from the
stormy sunset in lieu
of the gods, I expect

nothing less than
disembowelment by
crows, a short, shrill

trip to the electric
chair. As the garage
door peels back,

beady headlights
piercing the soothing
dusk, the hum of the

engine is anticlimactic,
waiting, a trembling
bud in the dark, hoping

light will bring nourishment
instead of danger. As the
handle turns, my heart

sinks, only to be wrapped
in old leather, chastised
and sent to a cool room

to think about the little
orange letters on the
wall, to ponder their meaning.

Perhaps he already knew
that those letters would
unravel into blossoms,

unfold like the painted
maps they both passed down
to me across time and oceans.


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