Aubade in Los Angeles
After Laura Kasischke
August 1981, and someone’s killing
couples from Santa Barbara
to Sacramento. A woman called Linda
sits with her boyfriend
beneath the buzz of a motel sign
drinking coffee in the yawning summer.
This is the year they drove the Pacific coast
through towns where men lay hobbled,
crockery balanced on their spines
listening to the treble clef of terror
in their wives’ throat
waiting for the sun to rise
like a final breath.
There’s a degree of separation
between everything we see here.
All I know
is what my father told me. How
he should have married Linda, how
he isn’t sure
why things fell apart,
the membrane of a college romance
worn away until it tore
revealing cigarettes, more souvenirs
than memories, and an emptiness
a little like walking the streets at night.