To Portland, with Love

By BRANDI KATHERINE HERRERA

SE

O 28th and Ankeny!

I heart your

ankle lace-up

booties

and piecey

top knot

your tortoiseshell

specs

undo me

every. time.

while waiting

for my grilled cheese

at the double-decker

grilled cheese bus.

 

You’re my Rad Summer.

You’re my Wanderlust.

 

Let’s watch

so many

last run movies

with vegan slices

and Sierra Nevadas!

 

Sweet lil East Burnside,

you’re more street

than I can handle

in your high-waisted

skinny jeans

and thrifted crop top.

 

Lord, help me!

 

I want to hook

my arm around

the peachy

sweep

of your waist

and walk together

toward

the Willamette’s

interweave of bridges.

 

Belmont.

Baby.

 

I want to borrow

your Brenda Walsh

flashback skirt

with the spray

of tiny garden roses

and ride like it’s 1962

on the handlebars

of your teal

vintage

Schwinn cruiser.

 

Let’s devour

diminutive cupcakes

by the dozen!

 

Mini red velvets

with cream cheese

icing

hot fudge

frosted vanilla

banana

chocolate chip

and salted-peanut

fat Elvis.

 

NE

 

Honey-love,

Alberta,

you’re my one

and only

instep.

 

My tooled

caramel leather

Frye cowboy boot

incarnate.

 

Let’s square dance

in the

stacked heel

street fair

of your parking lots

hollering

more macramé!

more day-glow!

we want

black velvet Hendrix!

 

North Mississippi

I barely

recognized you…

 

Those legs!

those breasts!

 

I came home from

college

and you grew

at least

several inches.

 

You trip me up!

 

I want to walk

your sexy

stretch of curb

and sidewalk

between

North Beech

and Failing.

 

Hey, girl.

 

Let’s craft

DIY terrariums

and sample

little spoonfuls

of honey-lavender

sea-salted

black licorice

from your artisan

Airstream food carts.

 

 

NW

 

O 6th and Everett!

I want to bask

in the pearly blue

of your wide

irises

and lofty galleries.

 

Let’s shop

all day for records

and get drunk

on boxed wine

openings!

 

We can hole up

all weekend

and watch

the sun come up

from your exposed brick

multiuse spaces.

 

O Lovejoy…

Love.

Joy.

 

You’re my rose

sorbetto everything!

 

Doesn’t matter

if we’re broke

as beggars,

we can live

on miniature

grass-fed burgers

and locally sourced

truffle fries!

 

I want to get lost

in your

endless stacks

and gather

camellia petals

with you

at the Lan Su

classical gardens.

 

Let’s recite

Eliot in absurd voices

over cups

of organic

Buenavista Chemex!

 

SW

 

Park and Madison!

Let’s play hide

and seek

near your bronze

equestrian likeness

of the 26th president.

 

We can skip

right over Roosevelt

and Lincoln

past Taylor

and Morrison

and run naked

together

in the baby

animal fountains.

 

Your lanes

are so generous!

 

I’m madly in love

with your red

yellow

green and blue

arteries

and your sparkly

little bus stops.

 

O oh oh,

I want to nibble

all night

on your tiny

little earlobes…

 

 

 

Brandi Katherine Herrera holds a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Pacific University, and is the author of the chapbook “the specificity of early spring shadows” (Bedouin Books, 2013).

Photo by author

To Portland, with Love

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