by Kaci Skiles Laws

Published in Issue No. 269 ~ October, 2019
I have never been where the road is 
a straightaway, not for years—
had no intentions to ever go back to where
the daffodil-dashed lines end on fatigue, 
where I left Whitney. 
Where I left Whitney, her campground 
of velvet leaves became a cover of frost and faux-snow. 
Her field of sage poppies’ paved sleep and overgrew
the antidotes in the imagined prism flowers;
the hypnotic rows of mint-white mirages 
preceded purple and what must have been 
her heather remains. 
When I entered back into the city—Whitney, 
her autumn air was hibernating, 
everything was lush,
even my glasses reflected the moss on the rocks 
and couldn’t transition, couldn’t let go of the green.
Her silk hairs overtook the lake’s crocodile skin
and its fishbones—
they became fur coats on August beaches. 
It seems everything there was becoming 
white chalk outlay, 
grey chert discarded, dusty jade 
endings and green slipping into ivory stockings.
She was trying to shy away from browning, 
wanted only chartreuse to turn white. 
The rangers closed off the park’s right arm in the spring;
the summer floods took everything except the jigsaw shores, 
my memory of her—
Whitney, she might drift right into winter.

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Kaci Skiles Laws is a writer and artist living in Dallas—Fort Worth. Her work has been featured in The Letters Page, at Bewildering Stories, 50 Haikus, Former People, and is upcoming in The American Journal of Poetry, The Bollman Bridge Review, and Sub Rosa Zine. She won an award for her poem, This is How it Ends, by NCTC's English Department and is currently working on a children's book called The Boogerman. Some of her and her husband's visual artwork can be viewed on their YouTube channel listed under Kaci and Bryant.