Three Poems By Jessica Greenbaum Houston Love Poem January here, a year beginning with spring. Like water within water, what stayed green through December takes its place among robins motionlessly, and oak leaves light themselves more clearly than berries above snow. Visibility comes with the territory, flatlands for miles. In this city of runways, we’re always touching down. Without mountains, land will not begin or end, but motion reassumes eventfulness when I’m with you. We went to see the Scottish horses, their gigantic grace, their yard long faces from a time without shame, when a horse, was bigger than a barn door. Before property, everything had more space to take up. Strange, but I could live in one room with you. The house being built down your block seems the subplot of my many visits; the stairs are solid and the rest, matchsticks, flame-like men atop them. Spring mornings we hear them tapping, as if a house could be built patiently, as if a house could be built. Evenings, the low windows of your apartment open, the site becomes a Chinese cage, custom made for sleeplessness. Each passing car inhales, exhales, Jessica Greenbaum, a native of New York City, currently lives in Houston, where she works as a reporter. 22 MAY 18, 1984 is gone. Each motion has its breath. My dear. I motion to you, my hand across your chest. I try to think of a story to tell or make up, one long enough to draw us together like the long winter that never shut us in. Having stayed through two Decembers, I see us as I never have. We are two immigrants, two namesakes of imagination; skimming across flatlands like water, two boats, both in tow, we’re traveling together, and as the year begins and again, begins, we move from what we know to what we want to love. Paisano Ranch I woke with the snakes, early March, when spring came to Paisano Ranch. From under limestone, cedar leaves, I rose to the surface of the world like a swimmer to the top of water. How I envy the cold-blooded ones! Willing themselves to any weather, they bloom like annuals, with treasure in their teeth, up from creek beds to clay cliffs, to a natural city. Flatlands are a suburb of this hill country, Houston, a suburb of the mind where it levels like the graph line of a dying heart, or a sleeping one. It’s not my way, just my luck to wake at Paisano after a long dream that leveled off without promise. The first bite into a cold apple, this first swim beneath heights of the cliff’s forehead, the chicken hawks circling that alight in nests, are going back to their first idea: Make peace with your lack of reason. Take notes, even as you sleep, even if the dream seems too long, too real.