June sky, graduation day. Seldom worn suits
shuffled through the sun towards the high school gym,
while behind fluttered lines of black gowns.
Amongst the graduates, three letters apart,
a young couple -- broken homes, broken
blue truck. In the sun, on the last day anyone
saw them before they disappeared.
Underbrush overtook the taillights, as friends
and teachers talked up where they could be –
on a beach in Panama, their toes pressed
into white sand, or holding hands halfway
across the Mostar Bridge, or winding their way
through the stone canyons of some great city.
They were gone enough seasons for
her mother to sober up, to put a fifth birthday
photo of her on the trailer wall, above
a few candles that were mostly kept lit.
Twenty summers on, less than a mile from
that high school gym, a hiker wandered off
the trail. And just about to turn back,
he saw between the ferns the mossy outline
of a fender.
Lights blinked, buried in the ravine.
His hand between her legs, her head lolled
on his shoulder, both dying, both dead, pressed
against the dashboard. Evergreens bore witness,
reached down, covered them with shadows,
breeze blowing Summer into Fall, into frost.
The branches lifted
just enough to let the sun through
and so he found them. Entwined
where they had landed in the ravine,
the same June day they disappeared.