Poem with Open Roads

Come with me, as if down a highway at night: the flaring strips of yellow, ghostly in their brightness. The whir of the trees above. The way we cannot tell if, ahead of us, are moths or eyes.

Cross forest & desert & cities rippling with the breath of their sleepers. In one town, my mother sits in the dining room of our old house, refilling her cup. The table is lined with a jarful of every ocean I have ever swum in, & near the end, one tips & spills like a filmstrip; we’ll follow.

The final girl runs down a hallway the color of blood. The walls are lined with the mouths of dead wives, whispering. The final girl is in the bathroom, dealing with her own blood, when the fight starts. She watches it through the mirror reflecting the cracked door.

What makes you think you are allowed to leave, the fight says. Blood like a jarful of ocean.

Come with me, through mouths that are not mine, through cups & cracked doors, algaea & radiation. Come out the other side, so that when the fires arrive, they will feel familiar—like running down a hallway, rose-bright. Listen, I don’t have the words to stop the future, its flood & blaze, but I have (yes, I think) something small & family I can give you, a story of how to open the road.

The final girl is in there, shaking time in her teeth. The ocean is there, & a house beneath it, full of faces & knives. There is a mirror overhead, raining the house down into itself in the form of a thousand glass doll eyes.

It has to count for something I am here, says every drop inside.