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pacheco pass

This is the leaving drive, the drive from the coast. The hills are tawny, ribbed, in six o’clock sun they are gold. Can I say that sun finds all the folds in the hills and the holes the earth puckers around? And the road is a perforation along a flat lake, which sits at the base of these hills (which are like bodies, like limbs, unnamable parts).

I was looking for habits then, a vice. I wanted too much, like for her to go deep with me, to meet me in a place I thought I’d reached. She had a hill; it looked west across the city. We sat on the beach in that city, watched men in white t-shirts, dicks wagging as they walked along the sand. We talked geography. The city’s shaped like a fist she said. I said no, more like a cuttlefish. I picked up rocks, dropped them, watched the ripple out. They weren’t the lucky ones and she was hungry anyway. So we drove to Nick’s, licked sour cream from our lips and our finger creases, and I have to report that the sun that night floating toward the sea rested on us for days. Her hill held the heat so we climbed when night let us, when light was just algae, pale on the skin of the sky. We sat. We breathed into the folds of ourselves, the dark parts that knew how to wait, how to let knowing creep toward us, turn us, help us go. Like swimming in shallow water, then a boat, small against the cut of the sky. First the boat passes. Later, much later, the waves.

amanda shapiro lives in Durham, North Carolina. She holds an MFA from Columbia University. Her fiction has been published in Porchlight, Two Serious Ladies, Ben Marcus’ Smallwork, and CutBank.

photo credit: Sandra Neumann