On our anniversary

Keepsake

My intuition is a flighty thing, a bird half-drawn in thin ink, a single claw, a round eye, in the 1-2-3-4 steps of flying. There are numbers everywhere, numbers being magical: I am 61 with 1 fine lovely sister who lives 2500 miles away, her phone number in my fingertips. I could call across 3 time zones to say I have not found Aunt Mimi's silver vase since I moved 2 years ago, and she might say, What vase? and I might say, The bud vase with the monogram, but I would by then be remembering how a tiny silver giraffe earring slipped away on a hot day in a ponderosa grove off Highway 297 south of Susanville. I was with the man who would become my husband, its loss a keepsake of that moment beneath the pines.

28 years later, that candy smell still makes me ache to make love to him, to sneak off a road and lie in the pines risking sap in my hair, long back then, risking snakes and ticks, while thinly drawn birds hold quiet in the heat and vultures drag their shadows along the ground, my intuition saying Go ahead, risk it all.