I went to the street side
before getting into the car
to gather my bearings
which had been turned around
in this part of Portland,
like the bookshops were magnets
toying with my sense of direction.
I looked down the long, dipping road
looking for recognition, a mountain, a sign
to tell me which way was right again.
While stretching my eyes
and insteps out as far as I could,
a voice came to me from nowhere
and said “oh good, you’re crossing the road too.”
I wasn’t. For a second
I almost argued with the air,
a misguided ghost.
I wasn’t going to cross the street,
But I knew better than to beg
to differ with the universe,
to tell it I was not what I was
like I knew better.
Behind me I found an old woman
leaning into and peering down
the somewhat busy street
(like it was a manhole, open and ominous)
before she looked to me and smiled.
As we crossed side by side
she told me how she was struck by a car once
while crossing a street and how it drove
a nervous streak into her legs
that she had not been able to shake.
And that’s when it happened.
That’s when it hit me
that I was “here for some reason.”
Although my west still felt oddly north
and I did not know where I was
in relation to the stars, the fates
had appointed me a pinpoint appointment
that I kept
close like a compass
for the rest of my dislocated days.