Where the West Begins

(continuation of a series which began with “Because I Sort of Knew Him” and “What’s In a Name“)

but I have been alone
here at the present
infinite spot
from “Sitting Place” by Dave Bonta

There was another brother
I’d met at that same bar, who some
years later, turned out to be
the hillside neighbor
of the man I said I’d marry.

We shall leave the brother nameless
(in keeping with our policy
of anonymity, but if you need
a form or frame of reference, think
of him as Snoopy’s brother Spike.)

I was kneeling on last year’s Yellow
Pages (my way of recycling) in front
of a Coleman cooler whose hinges had
gone bad. I was pulling out clean jeans
and wringing out the blue-gray water.

He came wandering over the hill
and leaned on my truck and watched
me. I kept wringing. (He was the one
come visiting, not me, so I kept on
doing until he got around to speaking.)

A man in the desert’s a good thing
he said. A man and his dog
in the desert. Add a woman
and a clothesline and it gets different.
Then you have a g-ddammed homestead.

I finished wringing, stood up and took
my basket over to the tow-rope I’d
strung up between the trailer
awning and the bumper of my truck,
began to pin wet jeans and shirts up

on the slippery divide between that
untamed frontier and civilized.

Series Navigation← What’s In a NameLaundry Poem #4: Suds →

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