In Trinity County, the wild west, I woke up to crows and watched the fog come in then disappear over sloping hills and tangled geometric shapes of wire, through moss covered oak, into that ghost forest. Someone told me once when I was very young that everything is either a straight line or a curve, and I always find myself tracing the shape of things with my finger, just to be sure.
I slept by a dog with one eye named little dog, and dreamt of snake people in a world like this one but turned inside out. I dreamt of screaming coyotes and a drought that lasted a hundred years.
Because of you I was in two places at once. In the hills, in that squalid fortress of plywood and tarps, with mountain lions and wild boar, awake at night watching for shooting stars and spaceships. And with you, wherever you were.
California called to me and I answered. Drunk with dreams I left a trail of bird bones, asking for you along the way to Los Angeles. And to Ojai, Matilija canyon, Piedra Blanca. You were waiting for me there with tangerines and gin, black sage, and the heat of the day.
In Sespe, that sleeping wilderness of sandstone and yucca, we walked for miles in silence through rattlesnakes and nests of bees in the dry ground, stopping only in shadows.
I came here defeated. Tired and broke with holes in my boots. Not just pale but blue you said, when you saw my face in the desert. In cactus flowers and creosote, under that hollow moon,
I washed the blood from my face in the river that we drank from, swam naked in a pool of hot water.
I miss you in the morning. I try to remember the secrets you once whispered to me while I was sleeping. And I miss you in the afternoon. Before my throat swells up and the sun begins to sink, I try to remember the sound of your voice, the shape of your face.
I try to remember everything so I can tell you about it.
In the land of condors and forgotten spirits I watched whales from the edge of a cliff, sea birds circling their enormous bodies. In the redwoods I repeated your name, shed my skin by a fallen tree and sank deep into the ground. I asked the ants and the spiders for answers, what it means to feel so old and so young, and they told me that I already know.
Maybe I will never see you again, but I need you to know,
when my heart broke open, you did not spill out.
Anna Flynn is 26 years old and originally from Maine. She is a self taught writer, artist traveller and farmer. She is currently drifting back and forth between the coast of Maine to Los Angeles, CA. You can follow her on instagram and tumblr. Be sure to read her featured travel piece, “A Letter“.