Jacqueline Hughes Simon
Naming Rights For Fires
:: We almost lived here once,
a long time ago ::

:: Datura dripping night scent ::

:: Open-skinned visions
of bare branches & wires ::

:: Spring quince flowering
plum, cherry pear trees with the fruit bred out of them ::

:: Remember the gray cold green
of western waves ::

:: Palms snapped from the top ::

:: We built a shelter of our skin; there was nothing to prevent us from burning ::

::What went up in the blaze
nests lined with willow cotton, deer hair vole fur

feathers & fine grass ::
Jacqueline Hughes Simon
After the Funeral
“But I am done with apple-picking now.”
Robert Frost

My car heads north overfull
                with histories and ghosts.
I start to dream of what I can’t.
              (You don’t know you smell like cigarettes,
                                                     until you leave the place of cigarettes.)
But I am done with phantoms now.

Contained,      skimming
                                    the tindered valley, crops,
industry of agriculture overwhelmingly
                                            lined up. Remarkably elegant.

The insults I unloaded
                                      lost their ache in the glare
of sun through glass.

But I am overtired
                         from the conflict I desired.

She gave me a ring. I picked out the gems
                                           like silver from teeth.
Remade and hid them, sold the gold.
                I told her orange was the color of madness
                                                        whenever she wore orange.

Buttonwillow,                    Coalinga,
                                                        ammonia stench of stockyard,
landscape screechingly the same.
           Follow the magnetic north,
                                               straw-gold pathway.
In the southern mountains, ocotillos
                                                  hold their liquid memory.