recording a year
retracing a dream
cannot distinguish between borders or the importance of the statues
or palaces I visited,
in the heat.
taking the time, in the heat, to make decisions
of relevance you’re supposed
visit, riding the current of backpackers
all picked up pamphlets, 200-word histories
war and torture and barely read them.
self, the person converting to traveler—disappearing
can I be real in an unknown landscape?
the people who know I am real
know this place
was weeding vegetable beds alone up on a mountain
dogs roaming around,
of the staff living on the grounds of the property
and acres, dark brown horses startled me as they appeared and grazed
in a field adjacent,
began to form: thunder and rain, booming cracks. I gathered
the tools and hurried to the car, drove back down where it was sunny,
where the rain never reached that day.
clients preferred the “farm house” look:
work the land into a definition of natural
time spent in a place: that time expands or contracts in memory according
to the content of the experience, the emotions felt during the time,
and the value of those to the self.
mother and I drove to the photo shop in town. I developed photographs
from my trips, laid them in frames, hung them in my childhood bedroom. Leaving
volunteered to help carry her casket. The only female. Would
she have suggested that a man take my place, given her generation?
still suddenly remember I should call her. I hear her asking
me why I want to live so far away from home.
months after I was in Manchester, my mind haunted its streets.
while I was there, I wasn’t—
it an injustice to admit not being somewhere
the events envisioned to happen there
came upstairs wearing my favorite black dress. I expected
him to look. He was sitting on the couch. He looked up,
may have chuckled, said nothing.
is a trip
what point is it named
after returning to Vermont
ate dinner with two women I’ve known a long time
knew the names of the places I’d been
ordered and they chatted about their jobs as if I weren’t there,
if I were still in Asia
had something in common: none of us understood
string their arms through a fence, befriending me with such measured
sweetness that I know they’ll ask for money. In this
way they aren’t kids—they know a disappointment they
passing judgment of /
the landscape, the people in the landscape
self losing its culture
wanting my body and my voice to matter there
it might at home
bus of tourists:
skin, long limbs, backpacks, sun bleached hair, sandals,
same dialogue in different accents
was nothing unique about this trip, or this self
H. Heath is
currently working on a poetic / historical / photographic project
about the old electric streetcar system of Oakland, California. She’s
been published in Samizdat, Birdsong and The
Brooklyn Rail. During
fall of 2011 she had a book art exhibition at The Beethoven Center
in San Jose, CA. She is online at erininthebay.tumblr.com.