Triangular peaks are the Emerald City,

faces painted a green that sparkles.

Clouds are breath on a cold morning,

creeping across the middle –  

foggy white slices.

The reflection ripples in inky blue water,

the remnants of glacier melt.

The glassy image clear like a mirror.

Girls giggle on the gray sand shore;

their limbs like growing fawns –

all gallop and splay and big, sharp noise.

They argue, and they laugh; they play,

the Emerald City their backdrop.


Friday Afternoon

She finds them at the bottom of empty glass cups, the ice cubes melted into a honey colored film at the base. This is when the memories swell, pictures so vivid it feels impossible to be so far apart.

Outside the clouds are thick, a gray rug across the sky; the lake is eerily calm, a translucent sheet of water. She peels her forearms off the sticky plastic table and remembers the taste of salt on her lips, sour leftovers of margarita mix. Days like these she longs for the pub at the bottom of the hill, the dark wooden corner booths radiating warmth, a cozy lure away from responsibilities, worries.

She winds down damp sidewalks dizzy with nostalgia to share, but they never were a sentimental bunch. A voice cuts through the miles, a flippant response about how she’ll find new friends, make new memories. The voice doesn’t understand, and she thinks maybe the nonchalance is a sort of defense anyway.

She tilts another empty cup, peering through the crystal. It is a slow letting go that echoes in the intermittent plinks of rain against the foggy windows.

Jo’s Choice

She leans forward all

caramel skin and silky black eyes.

She announces the ending –

Beth dies. Jo spurns Laurie.

Meg has kids. Amy marries Laurie.

It’s Jo they snag on, their voices

raise in a cacophony, lamenting

Jo’s choice. They don’t understand it;

they see themselves in Jo, and

they all fell in love with Laurie.

I eavesdrop, a sideways crescent smile

stretches across my lips. I know their

angst, and I love them for it.

I want to turn and tell them –

you’ll all have your Laurie,

and then you’ll understand.

I sit in my chair –

envy them the innocence

to hate Jo for rejecting Laurie,

their own green journey winding ahead.

I remember my Laurie, the moment I knew.

Black pen in hand, words pouring out

filling brittle brown pages. A waterfall

of revelation. The knowing and

the doing were years apart.

The bus rattles forward, the girls change pace

and talk about a YouTube video they can’t stand to watch.