The idea was the lavender of Albuquerque,
to depart from two airports and converge
in a desert city with central meaninglessness
and we had two tickets for that meaninglessness.
One minute I am standing
beside you, parallel in blue
and the next a pain shoots through you
I don’t understand
until I feel it, too.
I have not been entirely honest.
Albuquerque did mean something to me.
It was the imaginary final destination of all our vacations
when I asked my father where we were going.
We’re going to Albuquerque he said
even when we were only going to Mr. Lucky’s Restaurant.
And just now I remember he was still alive when all this happened.
So I must have told him I was going to Albuquerque,
to see the great mystery city of childhood,
which would also have been dishonest.
I was going for many reasons,
not the least of which was your astonished dark hair
against a white sheet in an adobe room.
When I was young I found a letter in a garbage can
written to my father and it was not from my mother.
Grounded, I drove down to where you were.
A hurricane hedged its bets inside the Gulf of Mexico,
and when it passed with no discernable damage
we read Calvino’s Cosmicomics aloud to one another
in parks in afternoons in twilight in the spectrum of lavender.
It was night. Everything was just beginning.
Was this about the formation of our universe?
Was this just about the Big Bang?
Was this about all points of departure?
Was this about all final destinations?
Look how far apart we are now.
My father is dead.
As the man sang: Your signature is red.
I did drive through Albuquerque in a later spring,
when I had finally gathered the mass required to crush
a heart openly.
I descended into Albuquerque at night
in the turbulent vortices between big rigs,
and the idea of Albuquerque’s lavender remained an idea,
because I couldn’t see it
and I couldn’t smell it
and I couldn’t touch it
and Albuquerque was just a flat, black pit in an unfinished valley,
its grid a reflecting pool for old and older stars,
like driving across the floor of a child’s mind imagining Albuquerque.
Still life with shimmers.