Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2015  v14n1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Outside Pasco

Sunset, gas station, stuporous smell, I give
back the psychedelic blue-eyed Virgin Mary
key chain, the key to the cement
bathroom whose cool tile is kind
of like prayer—I think
that's what I'm supposed to think.

One-story hotel, one blip on the highway that splits
my state in half. Dust, fuzz of mariachi, forest
of electric towers, this is that Washington.
High school soccer teams speak Spanish,
scrimmage all August against each other
and evening. Against being

one mote in the optical illusion
of trellised rows, a tiny body
in a pinpoint of light—light that stays put
even as you drive by if you train your eye on it.
The Columbia River is combed out

into vines, aisles like lines on an open palm.
You never feel how it closes around you
if you are just passing through.
In the Oasis RV park and hotel, people sleep
through the hot part of the day. Sleep,
an empty highway shimmying up

into blue—the land so flat,
most of what's there
turns out to be sky.  end  

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