First, this happened: you woke in a strange place.
A glade ringed by indistinct conifers, Bull Pines,
maybe, with your pockets full of bottle caps.
No shoes. No wallet, no memory of one.
This felt unaccountably tragic in the thinned air,
so it took a long time to get going.
And then you came to a river
and thought about swimming across
to the other bank, where you’d be no less lost,
all of you soaked and unhappy.
There was no way that was going to happen,
so you turned away from the loud water
and the promise of that river
humming away with your rescue.
Warm blankets. Mugs of steaming soup.
The shadow of a helicopter
falling on your prodigal self.
Enlisted boys trained to kill
by an amoral government,
though they turned out to be sweethearts.
They had mothers, too, they said,
and that made a lot of sense
as you wept, confessing embarrassing truths
about Vacation Bible School
and the cyclic humiliations of desire.
And then there was the crash landing.
And then the rationalizations of retreat
and the promise to yourself
that one day the world would know their brave tale.
Their culturally proscribed love.
At least their mothers deserved
an anonymous letter or expensive gift.
So you walked through nowhere
until your naked heels bled
on rocks and desiccated curves of bark
littering the dark ground.
The day had become its night.
In the distance people were badly singing,
which was encouraging.
Here, right here, you could always live.
And then you weren't lost,
at least in any geophysical sense.
About what happened when
you hobbled into their appalled midst,
not much more can be said.