the next day we nearly slid your gold Toyota Camry off a thickly mudded road

your right ear is
plugged
so you look for
hydrogen peroxide.

you turn the music up
louder,
half-fascinated by
the muted rumble
in your Spring-plugged ear.
half-disgusted.

you look for
hydrogen peroxide
as it is said to help
loose a plugged ear
and while you
do not find it
you do find
a diminutive torch;
the type used for
crafts and
creme brûlée
and
the smoking of
illicit drugs.

it is Spring and
you have just days before
clipped your nails
so you struggle
with the small safety mechanism
on the tiny torch,
fumbling
to give spark to the hissing
fuel.

you find a small stick
of Tibetan incense
in your cup-less cupboard,
and hold one fragrant end
into the torch’s pointed fire.

it is Spring and
your ear is plugged,
your head wobbles and
your hand holds
an insistent flame.

the incense, supposedly
hand-rolled in Tibet,
but it smells to you like
the American Southwest,
like that week you spent
in New Mexico
with the woman
you spent the
decade of your 20s
with, like
the tent on
the outskirts
of Santa Fe and
the late afternoon
rainstorm
drumming upon it,
the tent,
with you
and her
and the book
written by
the author you,
then,
when you
were younger,
so loved.

Published by Zak

an intertidal island in an ocean of impermanence.

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