Alana Pedalino


Looks like rain, my brain says to my brain—
boring myself with small talk.
Shut the door, shut the world out and wait til
early evening, but then, soft-spoken and polite,
Hello? Hello? warms the corridor with
newness of sound. The only one to answer,
I reach with my voice: Hello? I am here.
Surprising myself: I’m here? Yes.

I’m here when the men from Fish & Wildlife arrive.
They wear beige head to toe,
their faces ruddy from walks
through everything this land offers—
apple trees near ready to drop fruit.

We’re here to survey lampreys. Could we please
access the creek? The creek
that borders the property,
where arrowheads unearth each spring. Yes,
let me get someone to help with that.
But I’m the only one, and we know this.

The speaker’s eyes are blue like a husky’s.
Mine are green like the woods he wanders.
We get along well in that way of animal recognition—
which is to say we already know
how our children would look.
Will we say so? No—I point him toward
an opening in the white fence,
the part not taken by native grapes.
It’s there where you must go.

The speaker nods. His hair reflects light
despite cloud cover. I’m glad I put on lipstick after lunch.
We go through some pretty tough terrain, you know.
We’ll be fine. His waiters swish with purpose.
Please return if you can’t access the water.
I’d meet you there and muddy my shoes.

Out my window, above the boughs of a pear tree,
blue shatters gray.
Inside, I dance in gratitude of
lampreys—lampreys? Yes, lampreys!—
and the verve of meetings with strangers.