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  • Cantankerous forest, full of spiteful thorns
    venomous weeds, scarlet tongue of poison
    oak, there is scattered the husk of acorns
    the humus of dirt. Blackberries.

    We march up the side of a mountain, zig-zag
    down into a valley, our secret heart, here
    the land is hirsute with pines, manzanitas
    madrones. Black oaks.

    Your neck is red like the crest of a woodpecker
    the diamond light scatters the tango of shadows
    of leaves and sun, my backpack sags under
    the weight of anticipation. Thirst.

    By the lake, we camp, and swim, at dusk
    a choral of frogs, a concert of crickets, the incense
    from the fire, i sip a bite of your bourbon, the hazy
    smoke, drifts. Languorously.

    Blackout, no moon, on a blanket, by the shores
    of the water, we whisper our sequestered dreams
    our failures, mistakes, regrets, i want to reach
    for your hands, but fear. Hesitates.

    I see a shooting star and wish we could stay here
    forever, just you and me, forget the world outside
    full of fury, the militias, the massacres, the slovenly
    destitution of brazen greed, just us. Here.

    Where water cedes onto land, where the sky touches
    the ground, i am still searching, bewildered, by your presence
    without a compass, the boundary between friendship and
    romance, porous, now, i want more, perhaps. A kiss.

    Tomorrow, i swear, i will divulge, everything, confess, penitent
    i will risk, prostrate, but right now, i stutter, stumbling, to my tent,
    i see you watching me, your gaze, mirror mine, that lovelorn
    lancing look, the wanting, but not having. Regretting.
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