late night phone call

dear mom: even after all of this,

things are ok here. portland is always

more sun than i think it’ll be; isn’t

it strange how that happens? i hope

you’re well. did you know,

one of my friends has pianist

fingers too? she works in the sun all day

turning graveyards into gardens & clearing spaces

for the lungs of trees. she tells me about it

sometimes, of the dirt and the sweat, the sweaty

dirt, all of it oh all the staccato stumble of rain as it

strums and plucks its way back to the ocean.

of the furry creatures that curl up

in dark homes. how it feels to hold the

spine of the cascades like an open book and how,

more often than not, she’s the one being held.

so tell dad that there’s more than one way

to be a doctor. this canyon is the closest thing

i’ve come to healing. i scrape my knees on the distance

too often and know that no matter what you wish

i am still your daughter—these hands are half yours

and i’ve turned them into fists; you say

there was a garden here once too and it is

gone but here it is safe, mom,

here it is high up in a jar on a shelf in my closet

praying to god i won’t break it too