Return to the Cities

Aileen Keown Vaux

Into the wilderness I walked toward a ledge forgetting that lip is another word for the human mouth, and that edge is close to coming but stopped short. When I melted the last of my consciousness down to the wick I sat on the ground to gather wool sheared from some dead sheep. Let’s count: last night you welcomed me back home, into your body, into civilization. In the woods I discovered if I sit alone, producing nothing but the breath, I am worthy of this return. Care to hold my face again, with one steady hand, while another gets her fill? In the wilderness I splintered into a mirror until nothing mattered, an atomic downshift, like the summer I learned to drive stick. What matters is that time spears space like a toothpick through a club sandwich: each strata held together by filaments thin enough to be mistaken for choice. What choice did I have when you said, Please? Come home to me.

Aileen Keown Vaux is a writer and career counselor who lives in Spokane, WA whose chapbook Consolation Prize was published by Scablands Books and poetry can be found in The Inlander, Faultline Journal, and Roanoke Review.