When We Last Rode East – National Poetry Month – 5

When We Last Rode East

We left in the dark, as dark as Los Angeles
can be at 4am with the city lights, filtering
through the smog and the marine layer
ushered inland by the offshore breeze.
You hung onto my waist. A warm embrace
in the cool morning as I threaded
the motorcycle through the streets. Later,

years after we’d broken apart, you’d
say, in those hours – encased in jackets
and helmets, muffling the engine noise,
rolling out of the city into the high desert
darkness, before the back breaking sun
rose, forcing us off the highway for water
and shade as you lost your grip – you’d
never felt so close to me. You’d say,

it reminded you of our teenaged selves
when we clung together in the front yard
after the layoff notices and our families
moved their separate ways. It was the same
way you felt when you picked me up
in downtown when I rode the bus after
our long exile. We hugged on the street,
afraid to talk, afraid to let go. Afraid
we’d lose a future we couldn’t know.

But somewhere west of the Colorado River,
the daylight laid it all bare.

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