The Return
by Alice Venessa Bever

You pack bags and a car your mom prays will make it over the mountains to Michigan. Your Subaru Loyale has a strange rattling noise you’d been assured was just an incidental defect of the 1992 model.

You do moves from these mountains once or twice after seasons and breakups though not like this. This move has pomp. It has circumstances of goodbyes and yet you don’t close your bank account. The mountain moves to then follow will be leavings for awhile. With this one you have your car painted by friends in early July. The fifth to be precise. No one wants wine, the sunrise had been attempted the night prior.

You look out your window now and see Vesuvius. The Tetons are burned in your mind, however, along with that West Kelly night with stars, holding up your twenties because they were still (barely) there, sweetly, along with your oblivion of failure or unemployment or tragedy. You think of your car parked in a lot in Alpine. Probably full of mice and certainly memories you won’t recall till you unpack photos that stick together and dresses that no longer fit.

You leave grad school in Michigan and come back to Jackson in the dark of November (a rental because the Loyale blew a head gasket on 80 in Nebraska). It is a soft return. There are hugs and uncertainties and exhales. You return again after Italy. You are still (barely) on the small side of your thirties. The mountains are the same. Your best friend never returned from Nicaragua.

Choices move through winds over mountains and volcanos and you are part of the loss and growth in their architectures. Through and past, into and over: you return.

Upon reentry there are few questions about motives.

You belong.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: July 5, 2009, approximately 10 p.m., Jackson, Wyoming. The next day I would leave later than I should have to start a drive to Michigan.


Alice Venessa Bever
loves to make things: poetic stuffs, loud gasping noises during a funny joke, friends, pie. She lives currently in Naples, Italy, where she sings and carb-loads as well as teaches things like Science and Math to small children who will surely forgive her. She started performing at age 4, around the same time discovered that painting outside the lines and on the tops of feet is more fun (see photo). Since 2002 she has lived in China, Germany, Italy, Wyoming, Chicago, Michigan making art things as well as teaching. She is proudly still a resident of Jackson. Until her license expires or she moves back. Again.