Barbara Crooker
Corpus Christi

I'm at the foot of the map, in deep south Texas,
and the sky here is enormous. We're just tiny specks
at the bottom of a huge bowl of light. I think
I might see heaven if I squint hard enough.
On both sides of the road, flat
brown fields of newly turned earth stretch
to the horizon, as far away from Pennsylvania's blue
shale hills as I can imagine. Deep in my heart, I'm
missing you, but I can also imagine another life,
the one where I'd stay here, buy a small brick house
under the live oaks, learn to love heat and humidity.
Each morning I'd go to work driving over
a silver bridge delicate as a bracelet, the pale blues
and greens of the Gulf on either side like liquid jewels,
and then in the evening, the black scroll of night
would unroll, shot through with stars, like a player
piano in a honky-tonk. I could unfold a lawn chair,
tip it back against a tree, and crack open a Lone Star,
let its cold amber roll down my throat, let icy beads
of water drip on my chest and arms. Somewhere,
in the back of my mind, I might start to remember
that someone is missing, like a scrap of music
you've heard on the radio, but can't recall the name
of the song. And even though it doesn't fit, I'd shrug
into the hot Texas night as if it were a serape;
wear it like another skin.