Candace Black

                    for mary-ellen

Remember the first one?  The watery
green, deer gliding through rushes.
We were young as that valley
and now, miles later, I can tell
you these things aren’t common—
I am being whittled here
by something more than mountains.

I think lines on maps have nothing
to do with this.  The boundaries
we crossed have no names, although
some try Oregon, Idaho.
Where we’ve been is a tattoo
we can never find; the places
we go, the pulse
beating closest to the ear.


Candace Black teaches creative writing at Minnesota State University, Mankato.  She has published three collections of poetry:  The Volunteer (New Rivers Press, 2003), the chapbook Casa Marina (RopeWalkPress, 2010), and Whereabouts (Snake Nation Press, 2017).