Long beyond the swollen,
commanding flow of the
Mississippi, in the far, unknown west,
lies the quaint
and hopelessly secluded town of
Driftwood Springs, Wyoming.
Not much has changed since my departure,
which may as well have been
a lifetime ago.
Margot waits at
the Wild Cactus Diner for me;
sitting behind the wheel of Dad’s
once-scarlet ’72 Chevy.
Waitress apron still on,
her shift must have just ended.
She grins, cigarette between lips,
as I kiss her cheek and whisper,
“Hello, little sis.”
We cruise through the maze of
Main Street and several side drives
until the climb up the dusty path
on the dry, rocky hill leads us
The canary paint peels a bit
The larkspur flowers wilt
Yes, the Victorian beauty, made
to mimic the grandeur
and foreign world of the East,
has seen time.
The outlaws and Chinese laborers,
the bars and brothels,
the genesis of the American railroad…
the house has seen all of it.
But that’s not the Driftwood Springs
I grew up in.
Our house, with all ten bedrooms,
was the town’s finest
Bed and Breakfast.
Margot, Billy, and I
lived in the basement,
but we didn’t mind.
We liked sharing our home
with the Yellowstone tourists.
The sweet old couples adored
our shy room service.
The hordes and flocks of Japanese
were mostly confused by everything
In our florally wallpapered halls,
but the almond-eyed children made
we made them our honorary siblings
and presented to them rattlesnake skins
and chased tumbleweed into town together.
We made them Americans.
Mom never let us deliver the afternoon
tea to the pair of Californian college students,
who always roomed on the fourth floor.
She would affectionately swat us
with the broom in the black-and-white
Stop bothering the guests!
We would race home from school,
eager to see what people would be
waiting by the potted ferns
in the marvelous,
chocolate woodwork of the foyer.
I slam the ’72’s door and
walk through the brown yard.
The front porch creaks,
worse than ever before.
I greet Dad in his rocker,
I greet Mom’s withered, purple larkspur,
which are determined to survive another
I gaze up at the shingles and memories.
Margot lives there now, with Dad,
high-school hubby husband
and two, devilish, cute boys.
My brother? Margot’s twin?
He left soon after I did,
and has never returned.
But I will return.
I am here.
I will return without fail.
Because this house and this town
have given me so much.
That familiar hospitality
which can only be found in my lemon
Victorian and the
town of Driftwood Springs, Wyoming,
goes with me forever.