The Route

by Laine Perry


When the web of blood stopped,
having caught you in the act of stringing
your life out like Christmas lights
long after the holidays had passed

if & when & the whole thing whooshed past
like the last bit of strawberry soda curling its way
through the crazy-straw,
that prize I won from you at age six.

It's the way I knew you'd gone and done it
with jangling flutter of cease-to-exist—
your trees creaking as if you were quickly
a thousand years into your next life.

You and I knew this pick-up-stix forest
now hunched, and whistled through—
still a refuge for butterflies and your grandchild,
your soulmate, as you liked to proclaim
particularly to those who never noticed
the beating wings in the trees of August.

This year I will haunt the route of the Monarchs,
wind my way down to Michoacan,
enjoy a basket of fried white fish so small—
you'd think they'd never existed at all.

Longing for the recompense due,
I'll follow.
I'll let you lead me on.