I knew you’d be angry when I climbed up the colossal statue of Paul Bunyan.
We were on our honeymoon.
I don’t know why I did it.
We were driving up the narrow highway, and the morning was just coming. You were buying doughnuts inside, and I was watching through the glass.
The sky was rimmed in tangerine.
My cigarette was smooth and sweet.
It was easy, what I did.
I was always good up high.
You had run outside by the time I reached his shoulder.
My shoes had tumbled off.
Your eyes were very dark.
My hand was inside the curve of his ear.
Your mouth was moving.
The sky was swelling.
I pushed down the ladder.
The ladder crashed.
Sometimes we went with the top down, and you took the turns fast, and our hair went wild. I remember wanting to take off my blouse.
I was naked underneath.
On the good days, you opened your mouth against me everywhere.
On the bad days, you talked about philosophers I had never read.
I remember the first time I saw you; the gutters were filled with trash, and the wind was nipping my skirt around my legs.
We were down by the thrift stores and warehouses.
I scraped my periwinkle pumps against the cement.
I was waiting for someone who never came.
Ash toppled from my cigarette, and then the sun flooded over us, and I laughed.
I didn’t mean to say anything to you at all, but then I did.
Hello, I had said.
Later we had tacos from the truck down the street. The men called us mija and mijo from the shady interior. The tortillas were the size of your palm. We sat on the curb. You rolled up your sleeves, and I stretched my legs out.
There were children playing in the school yard, and the sky was milky with the heat.
The taste of cilantro lingered in your mouth all day.
I remember that.
We drank iced coffee in the shade.
I put my feet on the dash, which made you nervous.
I accidentally crumpled the map, which made you laugh.
Later on, you were angry about that.
We stopped for a while.
I ran into the sea.
We were driving up the coast.
We saw a whale in the Klamath River.
She wasn’t supposed to be there.
From the bridge with the others, we watched her move like a dark, languid bruise. She had been there for weeks, and I thought I would die when she broke the surface and sighed away her breath. The hiss of the traffic behind us was unbearable.
I thought I would die.
You told me something from your science magazine.
I was always thinking of her after that.
We made love a dozen times that day.
The doughnuts were scattered on the ground.
Paul Bunyan was cold against my legs.
My hand was on his whiskers, and then against his eye.
The sky rippled and rang like a bell.
I thought of my coming life, and the days broke open.
They broke and broke again.
Weeks later, she would throw her body upon the bank.
We were in Seattle then.
The climb had been easy.
The swallows were dipping.
I swung open like a hinge, and something moved over your face.
I wouldn’t be yours forever.
And then everything was wondrous.
Everything was fine.