I found a stack of letters you wrote to me from Bethlehem / Some people recognize physical acts of courage

I found a stack of letters you wrote to me from Bethlehem.

Today I drove west till I found Topanga.
The beach was empty. I burrowed in the sand
with my clothes on and pulled the hood
of my sweatshirt over my head.
This is what you taught me: to imagine
my body as an untainted container.

I get home and my kids ask me to explain
simple things: Why don’t humans lay eggs?
Will it ever snow? Do people stop loving
you because you’re far away? They’ve
taped a sheet of paper to the wall, to keep
a tally of all the mosquitos they killed since
we arrived. The people next door put tiny
plastic skulls on the heads of their wooden birds.

When California isn’t burning, you will come.
We will take the train from here to Vancouver
and decide if we want to keep going.

Some people recognize physical acts of courage

I’ve been waking before dawn all week
and walking down the street barefoot.
There’s a lime tree three houses down.
I debate whether I should steal some,
bite into them like an apple,
or just swallow them whole.
I imagine you’d encourage it. I imagine,
you would have me to lay on the street
and roll in the juice, breathing through my skin,
unhooking my jaw to take in more.

Do you remember when we were kids,
you used to ask me what superpower I wish I had?
One time you told me you wanted the one
where people loved you unconditionally.

Author Headshot

Kate is Marketing Director for The Adroit Journal and currently resides in Los Angeles with her family. She has a chapbook, The Oranges Will Still Grow Without Us, forthcoming from Ethel in 2022.