The Geography of Longing by Pat West

I depart Seattle and spend three and a half hours
tracing cornfields and mountains from my window.
The plane tilts in to O’Hare, last leg of a last-minute

decision to attend my thirtieth-class reunion.
I park the rental car and head for the gymnasium.
It’s not my imagination or the Washington wine,

I know it’s you next to me when I climb to the top
of the bleachers, sit in the same spot
where you gave me your letterman’s jacket.

Moments jiggle loose, like senior year
you were voted most likely to be first to the moon
and you said this little bitty town wasn’t enough.

Later when Buzz and I dance to It’s My Party,
I keep thinking any minute you might show up
and cut in. Certain when you arrive we’ll act

like explorers searching for a lost city, and uncover
buried artifacts proving first love never dies.
There are two stoplights now.

One’s at the end of Main Street, the Y
where all you guys would hang U-turns
dragging Main Street over and over Saturday nights.

The scent of longing trails me.
I navigate the room asking classmate after classmate
if anyone kept in touch or found you on Facebook.

About the Author: Pat West

Pat Phillips West lives in Olympia, WA. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, her work has appeared in Haunted Waters Press, Persimmon Tree, VoiceCatcher, San Pedro River Review, Slipstream, Gold Man Review and elsewhere.

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