As a girl born and raised in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, a rural and beautiful area dictated by seasons, I feel intensely the discomfort of this warm Bay Area pseudo-winter. As a child, though spring was short and summer ruled with a molten fist that blazed into fire at the slightest provocation, at least we used to have winter. I’m a bit worried for this year.
A golden summer a few years ago.
TO CALIFORNIA IN DROUGHT
Riding in a maze of neon lights,
I try to fall asleep to the memory of springs past,
when as a child I ran through grass,
high, lush, and achingly green,
to reach the hidden forest of my childhood.
The ground, pregnant with moisture,
cushioned my clumsy steps as I chased
that boat my dad and I carved out of styrofoam.
Hurry, hurry, the grass seems to push
and hold me back as I rush to beat the
small, quick rapids.
If I don’t catch it before the fork,
before the island of my daydreams,
I’ll have to carefully crawl between
the barbed wire to find it on
the other side of the fence.
But the cows scare me, and I’m
unsure if there is a bull, so I run and run,
trying to catch the boat of hope.
I almost reach it,
but when I open my eyes
we are in stopped traffic.
And in this California that knows no rain,
I realize that the trees behind my house
are cut down
and the horses graze on
dry, shorn grass of disappointment.