When she got the beard sickness, a rare blues
played on the radio.
It played so many times that it was no longer rare.
The doctors gave her pamphlets titled “how to massage your face.”
The medicine began to taste good.
Still, dandelion hairs crept out of her skin, in patches, here
and also there.
“Even the air itches,” she said, laying on a red-checked blanket
with her best friend.
Her best friend, humming a once-rare tune.
Three ballerinas in the park, painting
each others’ faces with fan brushes.
Bass clarinets in the bushes. Piccolos
in the branches. A woman enters, pushing
a stroller, sparing strange looks for the scene.
The conductor taps his baton nervously against a bench.
There’s jasmine growing on the fence. Scrub-jays on a dead tree. An
Anna’s Hummingbird. Anna. Well, not Anna. The idea of Anna, opening
a backpack and hummingbirds coming out. Anna in a lawn chair,
cradling a plate of sugar water. Anna, and the flowers sewn into her slip.
I kept saying I was ready, and I was ready for something, but not the
thing I said I was ready for. Let me start over. Anna is gone, or I am
gone. She is there, and I’m some other place, a place with a backyard,
a place with hummingbirds. Hummingbirds that aren’t even hers, but
Let me start over. Forgiveness is a grass that grows at the edge of the
desert, and I keep driving through Wyoming. There is a ranch inside my
mind and it is filled with quiet chewing. I had to get to the ranch. I
had to get ready for the ranch.
Sara Renberg is a Portland-based poet, musician, and programmer. Her first record, The Tall Calm, will be released in June 2014 on Antiquated Future.