by jim dolan

below, the desert is already tucking
itself into night, the tan mountains shining
on their western aspects, with purple robes

unfurled from their pinnacles to the east.   the
land is deeply carved with light and shade, running
east to the severe corrugations of the
mogollon rim.   i think,

'shadow play"

this is a leavetaking.  a plane flight.  a lifting
up and a saying farewell, again, as before,

many times before, goodbye,

mother, goodbye.  goodbye to your calming
touch in a terrored night, goodbye to the wooden
halls and ceiling fans and summer pajamas you
stitched for us.  goodbye to the games of catch

you played with us because he wasn't there,
wouldn't be there.  goodbye to the special
birthday dinners, fried chicken, rice, cole
slaw, chocolate cake.  goodbye to the blue

ford, the vw convertible, the 59 buick lesabre.
goodbye to the secret way i loved you.  goodbye
to it all.  childhood slips and slips away, like

this desert slipping away below, into darkness,
distance, a land far away, always more and more
remote, storied, cloaked in myth.  goodbye.

chiaroscuro.  the desert gives it up, and is now
only an empurpled panorama, yielding up scatterings
of twinkling lights that show the settlements.  goodbye.

it is all left behind.  only the faint twinklings remain.
in the darkened cabin, i search through the
scratches in the plexiglass for last signs, and think

i see one more, before a bank of clouds slides by, and
blocks even those that still twinkle through
the night.

Copyright © 2021 by Red River Review. First Rights Reserved. All other rights revert to the authors.
No work may be reproduced or republished without the express written consent of the author.