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               for Angela
My Fischer Poetry Prize paid for two side-
by-side cedar and rice bran enzyme baths,
up to our necks in wood chips. Chemical
process radiation of natural heat. A tree gave
itself for us to hug, swelter us up in its wood
blanket, humidify the skin. Draw out toxins,
scrub us pure. And then the clean-up, the brushing,
washing, exfoliating. The double shower,
drying, lotions, the bed upstairs, music
on headphones, us robed, luxuriating.
Dressing. Next, the gardens, streams
of immaculate water, manicured bushes
matching tamed bodies, harmonious minds.
On the drive home you remind me of our trip
to Colorado, last time traveling together before
things cracked up our close friendship. The only
time I remember, a tiny room with a ledge
where we threw our bodies down, me drifting
towards a physical crash, ominous as a car
coming out of nowhere on an otherwise
empty road. You remind me of the dude
ranch. Through the mulch of time I see the
dining room, the menu filled with steaks
and chops.You tell me we both went horseback
riding but I can’t believe it. This is how two memories
work so much better than one, mine with its pronation
to lose track. It comes back to me, the horses,
your desire to let loose. For moments I’m
there on the horse, but we’re riding on a beach
somewhere else, loose sand flying,
waves, hooves resounding.

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