Pacific Northwest on My Mind – Sestina

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Up empty streets lined with alpine greens,
Heading for a log home in the mountains
of the west, that would be ideal, I feel.
The neighbors would be more than a handshake
away and the green grocer, at the bottom
of the hill, next to the lone gas station.

Once a month I’d drive down to this station
To feed the car and get bread, milk and greens
and show Mae Jean the face that hit rock bottom
once, in a quest to climb every mountain.
Things would be simpler. My steely handshake,
a trifle overdone, I sense Mae Jean would feel.

Yes, Mae Jean would heal these wounds, I feel.
I’d walk the line like my radio station’s
Oft-played Cash song and would finally shake
these blues, leave them scattered amidst the greens
that take my breath away. In these mountains
her love would pull me up from the bottom

to live! For once you hit rock bottom
and can’t dream or love or laugh or feel
That’s when you leave, and head for the mountains.
Confusion, long lines at bus stations,
complete exhaustion, pallor – sickly green,
inconsequential specks I must shake

loose for Mae Jean. I’d relax the handshake,
grab a fishing rod, reel in some bottom
feeders*, while she prepares the salad greens.
Then choose a vintage wine, one we can feel
going down smooth. She’d wait at the gas station
bags in hand, for a night in the mountains,

with an easterner in awe of mountains,
who extends a most uncertain handshake
as he unlearns, unwinds at this station
unfamiliar, scraping the bottom
of his waders in the meadow’s lush greens.
Revived, resplendent, just how life should feel!

I dream of mountains, curled at the bottom,
Crumpled, shaken and dejected I feel,
longing for Mae Jean and those verdant greens.

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