After dropping him off she drove downtown
where they shaved her forearm and tattooed a sticky sunflower
in commemoration of watching the hungry pines prepare to grind
her Freshman son into splinters and scatter them through the woods.
Orange oily globs had floated on the pale milk of the lake
during their last meal together at the student cafeteria.
Her eyes brimmed with bongwater. Bits of gristle
drifted toward the surface and she held them under
with the bamboo spork until the bubbles stopped.
Arm swaddled in Saran Wrap, she drove back
past the evergreen fence with its mesh of compass needles
to the Motel 8 on the outskirts of Oly and flopped onto the bed
basted in sweat, simmering in a broth of worry.
Half a bottle of merlot later, she put the news on mute
and yanked the ripcord and the emergency life raft in her chest inflated
She let the current drag he down the carpeted hall
past the housekeeping closet crammed with cans of Pledge
and extra washrags and lozenge soaps
Past the rack bristling with tourist magazines
begging her to visit Raingutter Falls, the Roadkill Museum,
the Cave of the Electric Hairdryers
Past the front desk clerk watching the playoffs
with the sound off, the numbers nine and one
always cued up on his phone,
until she ended up, as everyone does
in every one of my poems,
out at the edge of the parking lot,
looking up at the stars,
trying not to imagine too hard.