In this city backyard the roses and columbine give and give,
and it's so hot I have to retreat inside, stir a pitcher of honey lemonade,
and lounge in bed, reading Neruda. I'm hugging the coast again, after five
years deep in the Valley wearing two-dollar sundresses from the Goodwill
and buying strawberries from the Hmong-family farm stands.
The dog's snoring, and the shelf of cacti make the quiet afternoon
quieter. And I'm almost back in the small town I recently left.
It seems I've spent my life leaving--or planning to.
As a small child, I stood under three deodar cedars near
dinner time, pretending I was lost in a bramble of roses,
the rose-shaped cedar cones at my feet, a kind of princess,
a kind of beauty, while inside the living room waged
a kind of war I wanted no part of. Most days, I want no part of
the known world. Give me a unicorn to ride away on.
I'll take the bottle of stuff that'll make me smaller, climb
my way up the stalk of the foxglove, hide in that lavender
cup, until the wind whisks me off into the unknown,
unknown being the only true reality. Until then, I drink
glasses full of sweet lemonade, wondering over the shade of those
bulb flowers in the corner of the yard, sprouted but not bloomed.