Hepburn Manor, Los Angeles
by Bryce Berkowitz
Pink bleeds into evening. The final flecks of November, a soft blue. Goodbye
jacaranda leaves rustling, sprinklers in the buffalo grass,
a busted sidewalk beneath a bay fig’s shade.
I wanted you, but still I hid. On the rooftop,
beneath the sky-glow, shadowed palms swayed.
While you grew sad beneath me; the weight, a tender sore.
Brake lights pumped through Silver Lake, then disappeared into pepper trees.
In the foothills, tiny wildfires burned; over the Pacific,
planes rose and fell; the city, a jeweled motherboard.
Loneliness, its private wave. A flock of wild parrots
chattered in the neighbor’s Indian Laurel, descendants from a Bel-Air brush fire,
from Pasadena’s theme park. Where solitude built its current—
trips to the chandelier tree, cribbage in the hotel, the trouble with joy.
Along the dry river bed, a methadone clinic—Skid Row now Hope Central;
I fired a revolver into a warehouse wall
on your birthday, sober. I remember angels' trumpets blooming
against that Melrose bungalow, soccer jugglers in Bellevue park,
Montana can graffiti in the freeway heavens.
I looked at rings. I returned from Austin. I entertained my mother.
It’s hard to remember every dragon snap, every peony,
every trip to the trash. For you, every hand drawn card and candle.
My box of personal items in the corner of a shut closet,
but outside the greasy window screen, we stood in awe of the rain.
Then, a cold snap spread, the way summer ends early.
Bryce Berkowitz is a Visiting Writing Instructor at Montana Technological University. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Best New Poets, The Sewanee Review, Ninth Letter, Third Coast, Nashville Review, Passages North, The Pinch, Sugar House Review, Hobart, Salt Hill, the minnesota review, and other publications.