Letter to Devin from 20th Street

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Kate Garklavs

Passing a shuttered fitness studio I saw a woman
in repose, perched on a core stability ball like
the subject of a Dutch painting. Deaf to traffic,
pores like an orange, she studied the columns
of a clipboard. I thought of you–not your hatred
of yoga, but our captivity to non­activity, spaces
so wide we buy into their silence. I haven’t seen
Galesburg for years, each month a stomachache
of what I don’t have: the hourly mourn of Amtrak,
lawn jockeys’ cheeks peeling to bleached concrete,
soybean processing plant giant against the sky
that only ever lowers to an alkaline rust. Remember
the Japanese beetle invasion? Red bodies clotting
our screens, storming the cuts in the mesh and
cascading our window ledges. Weeks we found them
brittle in the crevices, upended corpses feathered
with dust. All my souvenirs are out of view. I keep
surfaces flat and right­angled. I want to return with you
to the underage pub and eat neon popcorn til sickness.
Do you ever fear your shoes are too functional?
When you hear Prince belting from an open doorway,
do you lament the hostess’ birthdate, the pedigree
of the salumi? I want to drink Dr. Pepper from a plastic
bottle and leave the last swig. Toss it to the backseat–
better yet, side of the highway to cook and gas
until retrieval by a cleanup volunteer. We don’t
have those here. Stay effortless, friend. Love, Kate.