Poetry by Tina Klammer
This is what we know-
that she was found dead of an overdose
in a room in the Motel Six
on Central Avenue in Albuquerque.
That she was indeed a drug addict
and a sometimes prostitute, yes.
That she had been on drugs for years.
That she grew up down the street from me,
sister of my sister’s best friend.
That her sister’s name meant rebirth and hers invoked the autumn.
That as a young adult I bought a stolen camera from her.
That I had no thought about where she stole it, or why.
That with that camera I took pictures of the bosque
and boyfriends, and the tipped Rio Grande Cottonwood
branches would lean over everything I captured on film, looking down
upon the prostitutes of all sorts
while we clicked away,
and the river, she barely moved.
That we know her mother was a drunk and sometimes prostitute.
That we know that we don’t even know the half of it.
She was a vegetarian because she cared about the innocent but unknowable.
She had big brown eyes like a calf.
And when she died, I don’t know what she looked like because
she lived where I was too scared to ever linger.
East Central and the old motels.
Route 66 and all those ghosts.
She is a ghost,
and always was one, to me.
I prostitute something else,
my charm, or humor, or something else.
A stolen camera in 1999 and all the things I didn’t see.
Tina Klammer is a writer living in Portland, Oregon, with her family. She was born and raised in New Mexico and is still amazed at the lushness of the Pacific Northwest forests and green spaces. Her work has been featured in True Parent magazine and Country Pleasures magazine.