I see it every minute of the eleven-hour drive
and am drawn to its magnetism once off the highway.
No directions are necessary;
instinct gets me there
like a sea turtle returning to my birthplace to die.
I never park in the driveway.
That would be like driving into a mural or a dream.
I prefer traveling
such vast distances as those twelve inches of curb by foot.
Any such portal into his Serene Land must be done by foot.
Oh, he can drive into it and park his modest car
in his one-car garage,
traveling up the pitch black asphalt
connected to the neighbors with no boundary marked;
no boundary is needed for the land would not harbor
a soul petty or stupid enough to squabble
over its impressionist frame.
He can drive into it and park inside,
but even he must come back out of the garage
to enter the home.
He has two choices, round back or front.
I have only one choice, always round back Ė
a full gathering in of its greatness
prepares my spirit to enter it,
the front door wonít do.
He does it often,
closing that garage door by hand,
stepping down the walk
in front of the picture window giving glimpses of an earnest interior,
up the small step of the tiny porch,
and opening the heavy black storm door,
keying the lock,
and stepping right in.
I must close my eyes to hurdle the curb,
take in the single massive tree
with roots that spread the eleven hour distance,
with limbs so strong and broad and welcoming like his.
I peer into the picture of earnestness and it chills me.
I flirt with the thought of opening that heavy,
black barred prison gate
worthy of any petty crime to enter,
but must travel round
to breathe in her backside.
Iím not ready for her yet.
I pass the side of the garage
and turn the back corner only to pause.
As I ready,
I watch the squirrels and rabbits jump
and play at her ends;
the garden open to them,
the small children of the massive one in front grow here.
I peer to the second garage,
it holds his vehicle that walks on water
and itís nearly perfect from this distance.
I walk right by the back door entrance
in order to look closer at this shed,
to smile at the imperfections made by his hands,
and to wonder at this uninherited gift;
I squat by it - my hands are too soft.
I rub them onto the shed
as if appreciating it for its sake instead of his,
and to coarsen my palms and give a new grip to my fingers.
Iím nearly ready and I return to the back door,
walk the ramp
that She once wheeled up,
Her memory tightens me up,
and the tightness makes me feel firm,
firm enough to open the white, tin screen door
with my new grip,
and walk inside what was never,
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
3000 Rankin Road
by TJ Nickel