Portland, not

Erika J. Travis

Portland, Maine,
but Portland, Oregon, not
really even that
but Milwaukie, not
Milwaukee, a little
house on SE 23rd
that housed five people
with one bedroom and
an office,
a garage with a basement
deemed unfit for childish
exploration but which boasted
the most intriguing window
too small
for much
only to allow a little
light to squeeze through
obscured by rosebushes
my mother couldn’t kill
because her mother-in-law
had planted them
and even if she tried
they grew unchecked
wild in their domestic space
like the pair of boys present
at their planting whose roots
dug in so deep
they both returned as men
to raise families on the same street
and the trio of girls
who climbed the same
cherry trees to eat summer
before it was taken in
and pitted for pies
crimson-stained mouths
and clothes
and nothing more
to do
than flutter to the plum tree
and follow the stone fruit
with wild mint.

Erika J. Travis is an Associate Professor of English at California Baptist University who drinks in nature and coffee with great enthusiasm. She lives in Riverside, CA with her husband and four (mostly) delightful children.

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