Pale pink and purple wash the sky, day fading. I walk, feet lightened, shadows darting like ballerinas, in and out. I walk among pine trees, down country roads I’ve never traversed. I traverse every road that doesn’t lead homeward, to beer bottles and sorrow, to words hurled, verbal, shapely grenades. To small rooms, disordered, smelling of onions and armpits. I walk on and on. Up on hillsides,
lights come on from houses with open spaces and no constrained rooms, their butter-colored
warmth blending with the pink and purple, welcoming night. Welcoming strangers. Welcome, they whisper, even as they cling to their space, space so neat and ordered astride a hillside. All are loved here. How I wish I could just go in one of those homes, absorb the warmth of things. The warmth
of spaghetti sauce or chicken sizzling on a stove, grease splattering with cheer. Have a conversation, feel personal communion, the exchange of love, a smile, a joke, love disguised as sarcasm. But I imagine myself, an object out of place among the order and connections, someone who doesn’t
know the shape of love. How to don love. I walk the hillsides, the pink and purple turning to velvet. Velvet turning black. Only when stars start to stab me, expanding, do I turn and walk home, trying
to stride as slowly as possible. But the journey back is always the fastest one.