secrets of a journey

 

mile hunting mile

we rode

 

in the winter rain

washing

us clean

 

side by side longing for secrets

buried at the edge of the ocean

 

drawn always toward the brink

through fog dense a the feeling between us

 

mile suggesting mile

we rode

we rode faster

 

he navigated a turn in the dark i chewed

on another black feather searching for its flavor

 

he murmured

scared words

‘going too fast’

and slowly pressed

the gas pedal

to the floor

remembering

i would grow

very old

i slid a ring

of faith in him

onto my finger

 

we sucked on salt mist blasting through cracked windows

hoping to moisten our dried lips

 

mile inviting mile

we rode

slowing

i savored the taste of dreams as we traveled

fooled

confusing aroma for mouthful

windows rolled down

radio turned up

he turned off

the headlight and

we fought

over where the moon was

 

mile searching for mile

we rode

slowing

until we stopped

           

silhouettes watched as we stepped over the dead jack rabbit

onto the black beach sparkling alive with ‘red tide’

 

i wrote his name over and over and over

on shapes of cities fashioned in sand

 

of course he didn’t see in the dark

and kept whispering stories as he circled me

 

‘some day i’ll go back into the sea to die’

his words slid over incandescent waves

 

‘i’ve always wanted to breathe under water’

was my offering to the hungry surf

 

in dark hours after moonset we share only silence

thinking we could hear sounds of the future

 

mile pursing mile

we rode

again

 

in the winter rain

trying

to wash us clean

 

our hush crowded me

getting under foot and in my way

 

i passed him three pieces of orange

he put one in his mouth one in his pocket

and threw the last out the window

pointing to a star shooting along the horizon

 

mile piled upon mile

we rode

 

in the twilight on unfamiliar roads

winding around hills around hill we thought we knew

 

he old me not worry he always found his way

i touched my ring to remind me

 

exhausted from navigating through unmapped regions

and straining into the growing dusk

 

we paused collapsing onto wet grass holding hands

and watched our fear collect into shallow pools around us

 

face into my breast his tears dissolved

the filmy fabric between us

 

for the first time

I caught a glimpse of his ring

 

he slept for hours sorting sorrows from rapture

i was shy walking through his dreams

 

mile whispering after mile

we rode

 

in a silent movie outside landscape sped past steamy windows. a dark magician he lured me into my own shadows calling me onto a harvest of secrets. gently encompassing me he soothed my timidness which i tasted each morsel. delicacies fragrances shades of dark i knew i must devour and remember when i came up for air. he lingered on fathoming mysteries and phantoms. upon his return i asked what he’d seen he only smiled a singing a melody with the night. i thought i heard my name. excitement built in my body and he too began to recognize the shape the road was taking. his shoulder pressed heavily on mine as we pushed ourselves into daybreak.

 

mile compounding mile

we rode

 

in the winter rain

washing us clean

 

the world was getting bigger in the dawn

the space around us smaller

 

now we knew we knew our way

the terrain was tumbling the road smooth as silk sheets

 

i pondered the uneasy blush of the sky he said

it was ‘embarrassed pink’ we laughed over who thought it first

 

white stripe

black road

sky blue

hill green

but

 

we could never

agree

on the color of the truck

he put his visor down

i out mine up

i put on sunglasses

he took his off

we both opened our windows

all the way

to watch a crow

sitting on a fence

remembering the moon

 

we passed espresso back and forth sipping its blackness

 

mile building mile

we rode

i drove

 

the hills rolled over their hips becoming rumps

the road a black pattern he drew across the grass

we stopped and mailed two silver love letters

he took a bite of clouds i talked with wild flowers

 

returning to the truck we recognized two shining envelopes

and pocketed the promises concealed inside

 

in the softness of afternoon he drew me into

his seclusion of imagining reflection and dreams

 

canonizing our own saints

designing a clock that told no time

 

we wondered over loving

and considered the seven routes to the sea

 

mile developing into mile

we rode

he drove again

 

the moon began to show her face a bit too early he thought

she evidently still did not like to wait

i defended her ardor knowing her desire as my own

stood by her yearning to be full

her struggle with the dark

as i argued for her precocious appearance

he turn the light our defying us to relay only on her light

darkness crawled over me

frightened

and smothered by clouds of longing i couldn’t comprehend

 

‘do you see me’ i mourned into the deep red of late evening

having lost myself in the shadows

he turned his light mirror to me

showing the strength and beauty

in the reflection

i remembered my name

caressing first my face he placed in my hand

the skeletal head of a great sea bird

‘keep this to remember the parts of your self

you have found in the dark’

with wheels screeching we turned a corner into night

 

mile craving mile

we rode

 

he closed his eyes

weaving stories from my childhood

into his reverie

his grandmother there to receive them

 

we stopped and gave rock candy

to dark children following us

he told them he was crow

and would teach them to fly

 

mesmerized

i held my breath

as he gave each one lessons

a hint of feathers

gleaming under his jacket

 

he was cold

when he finished

and sat nourishing himself

with my body heat

 

the children flew off

in all directions

at the start of the engine

 

mile after mile

we rode

wandering and wondering

 

i made a map of where we’d been where we were headed confined he ripped it up jagged pieces flew away a family of flashing winds multiplying more wings silver then grey clouds of winds stirring wind into a tempest excited and frightened by the storm i jumped out onto the beach running turning turning not seeing ahead falling and turning back thrown from the truck by the gale he disappeared in a rush of black flight and separation even the truck vanished

 

mile dissolving mile

as we wash

ourselves clean

 

he cruises the landscape

a sleek dark bird

hunting

in repeating spirals

still hungry

 

i no longer watch the sky

miles pounding

in my soul

with eyes on fresh blacktop

i surrender the territory of innocence

 

aged by the sun’s longing for shadow

and seasoned by the scent of memories

alone

i have settled into my self

still traveling

 

mile remembering mile

in the later winter night

 

remembering miles

 

as i

wash myself

 

remembering miles

washing

 

miles of miles

washing

me

clean

 

 

Sharon Lopez Mooney, ‘Secrets of a Journey’, in The MacGuffin, Vol.III Num I, ed. by Arthur J. Lindenberg, Volume II Number II, Fall 1988, Schoolcraft College, Livonia, Michigan, pp. 11-17

          

Sharon Lopez Mooney, published poet, Interfaith Minister, spiritual coach