by Sarah Grey
She paid the rent by selling maps,
green highway veins, county roads of chlorophyll
A cartography of life, potted, bouqueted.
(The world drops off a brink
where caterpillars dine.)
I bought an atlas in the rise of spring.
She bound it in string, white like the roads of forever,
ends snipped crisp. Page on budding page,
a guide through a world
that smelled, at times, like daisies,
at times like dung.
I saw her wrists then, lit by streetlamps.
Blue boulevard veins, iron-red lanes of heat
a cartography of years, scarred and worn.
(The world slips off a brink
when the pension check comes late.)
I planted an atlas when autumn fell.
She was elsewhere, eight days down a pale road,
but a quote on stone is the poorest guide
to a world that chases life
through tunneled soil, then back again
wild as summer trails.
© 2013 Sarah Grey. All rights reserved.