To see more clearly,
we climbed the shifting sands
of the volcano. We read
in the guidebook that we might
be haunted if the mist & the light
were just right. Sure enough,
a rainbow haloed my head’s
shadow. Brocken spectre
it’s called, & “Isn’t this awesome,”
my husband the dork said. He was thinking
about science again, about how
light & water particles
bounce & interact & refract
against each other, whereas I,
the melodramatic poet, saw
some paranormal visitor, some queer saint.
In bed, my husband
tells me that in the ’90s
he had a choice: either to kill himself
or to come out & die from aids.
Time moves like bluffs,
like erosion. It flattens to rift & split.
It carves down the precipice
like the runoff we clambered up
to find the path had already
deteriorated. I hiked in just my flip-flops,
& when the thong broke
I hiked in just my bare feet.
Let’s go back some day. Let’s go back
to where the ocean’s panorama
was endless & shimmering,
where the violets bursting forth
were reminders that the world
will go on generously without us.
In bed I kiss you
between your shoulder blades & say,
“I’m glad you’re here.” North of us
two Berkeley freshmen
are skipping class. They are learning.
They are taking turns
taking each other raw, as if they alone
discover something new,
as if none of this
had ever happened. Do they even know
their own history? Do I?