Mist, the marine layer rolls
along the ridge behind Ventura,
the slope green from fires
last fall. A bi-plane circles
overhead, momentarily drowning
out the construction clatter and whine
of table saws and saws-alls, air
compressors, a chainsaw, generators,
planers, sanders, and hammer taps
competing music for the chickadees
and finches, the back-up beepers,
the mourning dove’s coo, crow caws,
too, diesel engines, tires rolling
across asphalt. Nothing wrong here,
a perfect symphony, this song
where lemons grow beside tangerines
and avocados. Still Ciara only
cares about me. She waits
for me to throw the ball, the stick,
the rock, anything at all and keep on
doing it until one of us dies.
Her black eyes stare at me, two
opaque windows masking the fields
she runs frantically, wildly
burying her bones, tending the herds
she works in her dreams, doing for men
whatever they need, that service
she trades for love, this black bitch,
Irish queen of a small green plot,
her lot, this California back yard.

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