> jumping into life.

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In high school, drag racing past the cheap motels, I did not feel free. The engine churned higher and higher - 50 mph, 65, 70 on a road signed for 35 - and it did not give me wings. Nor the ocean scraping its lacy skin against the rocks. Nor the rough sex on sticky back seats, cold bathrooms, musty trailers with the ravens circling outside. I have lost all those poems, long ago. There is nothing to tie me to that girl; no proof she ever existed. I don't even remember the time I spent on the stage, bright stage-light heat staining the armpits of my costume (I was a nurse, or a page, or a wandering musician just stopped in for the night), like I don't remember taking the tests that launched me into college, like I don't remember the time I tasted death and found it was my own saliva, which if it wasn't foaming it should've been.

I also don't remember the first night we spent together. I may have been too drunk; I may have been too scared. I also don't remember when we first said I love you - none of them, actually, except the very first which was past midnight in my driveway and the streetlights flickered out and it was true anyway.

Later, I noticed that I was living exactly the life I'd wanted and it didn't surprise me. Nor did the sun set perfectly even once. Nor have I watched the sunrise but twice in all those years.

Later still, manzanitas dropped their heavy fruit, tasting strangely of ocean, of fish, and I let my gaze drop, too: unfocused, forty-five degrees. I am not an enlightened being. Hotei raises his hands in glee; a bird crossing the sky is an endless being in the heart of endlessness. As am I. Though wingless. Though perfect. Buddha touched the earth, after all. (I touch the earth, after all.) And she said, yes.