To find it you'll have to walk West
60 feet beyond the remains of the semaphores
of the old P&W decorated in decaying ivy,
beyond the blown out boulders lining the trail
and the yellow forsythia that sticks out between the
squares of chicken wire in the neighbor's yard.
You'll have to walk further down the path with green gardener snakes,
past the boys throwing stones at the falcon on the tree branch, unblinking
past the biker playing Johnny Cash,
"I keep a close watch on this heart of mine,"
past the gurgling brook that bubbles against the grey rocks
"I keep my eyes wide open all the time,"
into the vegas nerve of the forest covered in patches of moss,
several hundred feet beyond the sloping meadow where the lark
stands majestic, puffing his breast and closing his eyes into the sun,
up the hill past the wooden bench where I once carved our names
and into the cul-de-sac of crumbling homes where the ravens - large as laptops - live.
When you think you've found it, turn around to
find the place with the tiniest flower, where the cardinals fly in double helixes
along invisible wavelengths and the curved marble statue
offers itself to you like an outstretched hand.
Take it. Place your cheek to its surface.
Run your finger along the cracks on its side. And whisper to it,
"because you're mine."
The word "Vegas" means wandering in Latin, and it is an apropos title not only for the poem but for the time in my life when I wrote it, which was back in March after a particularly strange and difficult time. To cope, I spent a lot of my free time walking on a trail behind my apartment, watching nature as it slipped through the grip of winter into one of the loveliest springs I can ever remember. Each day I watched as buds unfolded, as colors began to change from greys and browns to soft pinks and pale violets and as the natural, animal and human world began to open up to me like the outstretched hand I mention. Really, it is a love poem to myself and almost an internal map to places outside that mirrored places inside - an interior gesture of friendship and recognition that I was able to accept after many hours of being in nature as it returned to its yearly place of ease and undoing. I think there is nothing more powerful than to claim certain parts of yourself that you've either buried or kept hidden from yourself. Much like the transition from winter to spring, the act of shedding light on and removing the covering over our secret selves, is a kind of rebirth and renewal that has its own magic.