Where Did You Go? — Jill McCabe Johnson

You remember how I was telling you about my

sister’s first apartment in Oakland and the way

the balcony overlooked the swimming pool like

so many apartments did back then, with a pool

instead of a courtyard, so everyone can watch everyone,

well I got to thinking and double-checked and

sure enough, her apartment was on the ground floor!

Not the second story! Can you believe it?

The mind is not to be trusted, I tell you what.

So then I was thinking maybe everything I told you

was messed up: the time I walked into a post at the mall,

and that boss I had who obsessively creased her slacks,

and the 31-Flavors in Burien—the more I think about it,

the more I think it was actually in White Center, which

we used to call Rat City—and god only knows

about the series of labyrinth dreams with the talking puppet,

but dreams are so crazy anyway. Besides,

when I couldn’t find you anywhere in the house,

I went looking for you outside because I just had to tell you

about the apartment, and guess what? I saw a quarter

of a feather! There’s a story there, what do you want to bet.

I’m not sure what kind of feather it was, wing maybe,

and grayish-white, could’ve been a seagull or heron or

I don’t know, maybe an eagle even, and don’t you wish

you could just follow something like that and know

its entire life-story, right down to every detail like

how each feather died, and do feathers die anyway or

are they already dead? Maybe they’re completely insensitive

and just feel at the point of attachment, kind of like

a cat’s whisker? We should look that up later. Life

is all so fascinating. But first I wanted to tell you about

this car that pulled into the driveway while I was looking

for you, I think the driver was just turning around, but

I got to thinking, what if he was a spy or drug-runner

who went to the wrong address, and we just thought

he was some guy, I mean, that would be really interesting.

We could get killed just because you went outside

and I had to go looking for you, and you never know

what will happen, do you? Hey, do you want to

walk to the store with me? I have this idea for a movie,

sort of a Bridesmaids meets Hunger Games kind of thing.

I’d love to get your opinion on it, but we don’t have to,

I mean, we could just hang out here and that’d be okay,

too, I mean, you know, whatever you want to do.


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Jill McCabe Johnson sometimes writes about water—Diary of the One Swelling Sea (MoonPath Press) received the 2014 Nautilus Silver Award in Poetry, and her nonfiction chapbook, Borderlines, about nearly drowning in a waterbed is due out from Sweet Publications later this year—sometimes she paddles or swims in water, but hasn’t yet managed to walk on it. Alas. She has good taste in friends, bad taste in shoes, and absolutely no taste for movies with car chases. Degrees, yes. Writing awards, yes. Black belt in karate even, it’s true. But cannot ride a bike to save her life.