by Jessica Burnquist
Traveling home is not possible–
pandemic borders and invisible risk.
But if it were, what might be discovered there,
seen in newly familiar slants of desert light?
Deep purples of bruise emerge from nowhere
into the light and now there is time to reconcile
or throw memory into a lake. And the lake is not
bordered with Narcissus. The lake is a reflecting pool
deeply waving in the most significant faces.
Sometimes you swim in the lake. Sometimes
you drown. Sometimes you are reborn and even
if this takes place in the worn impression your body
causes in the sofa, it means something about
your nature. It means you are willing to drift.
Maybe when you were small, you studied your mother
and her opal pendant with a burning fire to put it
in your pocket for magic and wishes. Spells for later when
no adults were nearby and you were in the air
of the backyard or the park across the street
with wild hive-causing grasses.
Much later, you will order an opal from India,
wear it on your writing hand and the wishes
will find a way to pour out and you will be
and you will not be home again. And you
will be drenched and dry. You will overhear
reports on the latest spikes of death
because so many traveled too soon,
and you will be aware and you
will be at once joyfully,
Jess Burnquist is the author of the chapbook You May Feel Your Way Past Me (Dancing Girl Press). Her poetry has appeared in multiple journals including Clackamas Review, Ms. Magazine, Natural Bridge, Hayden’s Ferry Review and more. She currently directs education and youth empowerment at a human rights anchored non-profit in Southern California. Jim Baron is the owner, with his wife Liz, of the Dallas-based Blue Mesa Grill restaurants and TNT/Tacos and Tequila. He’s been a surf bum all his life, with his late brother Bob and younger brother Dan. He spends a couple hours every day painting water colors, and happiness for him is being on the beach with Liz, Kate, Zak, Ian, and Lola, the labradoodle, who runs the show.