Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Parting III (Ode to Adrienne Rich)

A last hike 
On California’s Lost Coast
Fog wafting up through the Beached Pine
Madrone and Chinquapin
Ghosted silhouettes
Unseen waves breaking below
The mountain’s side sliding into the sea
Last winter’s scarp
A fresh earth scar
Through the coastal strand
The beach trail’s end
Vanished in a jumble of debris
The dust from out last years footsteps
Sloughed into the sea.

Copyright 2013 Virginia Pickles Jones

I wrote this poem after camping in the Kings Range of northern California with my then boyfriend, who I will call Steve.

I was already damaged by then by both child sex abuse and date rape.

Numb, unable to feel very much, not wanting to feel very much.

Steve was the perfect boyfriend for the time.  I liked him and enjoyed his company, but I didn’t feel very much.

He was quiet and outdoorsy.  No quick quips to confuse my mistrustful mind.  I liked him specifically for that.  We lasted about three years until I became a gypsy Foreign Fisheries Observer, never settling anywhere for long for several years.  

What I liked about Steve most of all was all the camping and hiking and backpacking trips we went on.  He taught me quite a bit.  Years later I used my experiences with him to take my own children camping as a single mom.

This poem was only somewhat about Steve.  I wrote it, inspired by the scenery we encountered on a hike during our last or next to the last camping trip.  I knew the end point of our relationship was approaching.  He was close to finishing his degree and would be moving on, and I was close to finishing my teaching credential and would be moving in my own direction -- away from him.

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