Rocky Coast, 1930

The trees were low there,
the eaves of the inn whistling.
I’d been sent far afield to
recuperate with a bum arm.

I was beside myself asking when
the pain would yield. Yet, slowly,
it did. Despite my ailment, I lost
my heart to a town that forgot me

even as I walked its streets to
maintain my strength. There
was the comfort of a bar beneath
my room. From my bed,

I listened to laughter rise
and fall until ten, listened to
the doors on my floor open and
slam shut with drink. And still

I found something to love. That
town had no need of the likes of
me, my east coast upbringing,
Oxford educated, here on the Pacific.

I was sure I’d won the battle and
lost the war. At checkout, she
said, “Good-bye, Mr. Halloway.”
I didn’t correct her.