the angels are dead and the lord has gone blind in the region of akra, and no one will guard for me those who have gone to their sleep and are resting.

(ed ruscha, 1018 s. atlantic blvd., 1965)

we wonder do palm trees ever die? some so slender, thinning thinner as they sway. some stout, complete—their dead leaves hanging like tufted, gray beards. we see them when we swim in the pool we have in our backyard. a backyard we share with the other tenants of our two-story pistachio colored apartment building. the weather is a beauty that never fades.

we turn thirty. we quit smoking. we pick up running. you, outside around the park on Magnolia. me, i go to the dank YMCA across the street where mexican moms work it to zumba. i run on the treadmill for exactly 45 minutes. half the fun is making the playlist. i always end, triumphant with madonna.

i do the laundry on the weekends when you are at work. you work a lot. while the wash is running, i sit in the plastic chairs near the pool and read proust. reading time in the sun. i consider all the palm trees in my view. i think of how long they have lived, who they loved when they were human, and what else could be better than watching a tree in the sun in california. maybe being the tree, you say after i tell you what i did with my day.

how did we ever live in brooklyn, we often wonder. it’s our second favorite wonder. we must have been pale and weak and miserable. we were vampires and chose mortality. and then we died and made it over together.

this is the afterlife, in another city, our subterranean hearts finally above ground. we drive in silence over the 101 and listen to bad radio and look at the universal city sign glowing devotedly red. like the eyes of a cyborg you say.

sometimes we take the long way home through hancock park so i can see the white stucco spanish colonials with their sleepy, glancing archways.

that one, i want that one.

we stop at a bar we’ve never been to before and where we know no one. we sit outside, hip to hip. i put my fingers through your hair and pull. fine strands, pitch black. i take a sip from your beer, you are so beautiful with your blue-gray eyes and stubborn expression that looks like you’re thinking when you aren’t thinking at all, and i know i have never looked at anyone so carefully as i have you.

you pluck the crease of your pants. the pinch travels down your leg, deepening the fold. you cross your feet, by balancing the heel of your left on the top of your right foot. a repeated gesture from another life, in another city, where we first met. our favorite first wonder.

i was sitting on a stoop, drunk and smoking and i gave you a look and said, “no—“

“—no, of course not,” you chimed in. cue smoothing of one pant leg, a gesture that ends at the ankle. it wasn’t your face that won me over, it was those fine, long fingers, those good hands.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.