Aubade in Los Angeles

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.

Megan ArlettM.J. Arlett is an MFA candidate at Florida International University, where she is the nonfiction editor for Gulf Stream Magazine. She was born in the U.K., spent several years in Spain, and now lives in Miami. Her work can be found in The Boiler Journal, Gravel, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, and elsewhere.