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ducking under the last heart-shaped yellow birch leaves,
past the mottled white bark, stepping lightly off the curb
over a stream of this year’s first real rain as it scours the gutter,
feeling the shape of an ordinary street rise beneath your boots —
Commercial St. — and then drop again on the other side,
as if you had crossed a small hill unknowingly, which you have,
without effort, coming into the quiet presence of a wall of bricks
someone laid and mortared that still stand in even rows despite
a century’s passing. This is and is not a Wendell Berry novel,
a Mary Oliver poem. This is one block of a California Gold Rush
town with a bloody, tree-less history, known mostly now for pot
and a kind of rueful quaintness, where people you love
have died and been buried, have been born.
© Molly Fisk 2018