The summer after Octavio Paz died
we drove up from Malibu into Topanga.
Sand clung to the back of my thighs
and, hair still wet, I laid my head
on your shoulder as the canyon
dropped a curtain between your car and
the stars and city lights along the shore.
You said you could feel where the fires
had burnt five years before.

“I’ve got a little witch in me,” you said,
fingering the sterling silver pentacle
you wore on a chain.

I remember how brown
Your neck was from the sun, and the mole
I wanted to kiss.

You put your hand above my knee,
And I
quivered like the air does above the asphalt.

I asked you to take me home.
Stammered something about summer heat
and early mornings.
Your hand brushed mine and you
drove me back.

Home through Laurel Canyon
Instead of the 101
Although in the dark of night
The freeway would have been