Memory Believes Before Knowing Remembers
Walk past wild radish and California golden poppies,
beyond a pond lined in cattails and home to mallards,
continue down a slope, an easy jog,
a stretch of buckeye trees, the spring’s white candelabra,
bay live oak and laurel undulate like dancers
in a scrim of sunlight, journey to the first bench
near purple periwinkles where an oak tree
became my husband.
Raised myself, ambled past
brambles of blackberry, past poison hemlock,
the canyon shaded in sword ferns
and stinging nettles, a tale of a girl
who gathered plants from graveyards
to help swan-changed brothers,
stayed at the second bench until a lover flew south.
A hummingbird called me back to myself,
now rest at the third bench, can almost see the hill
where in a dream I found
a chorus of iris smudged with faces—
This bench is memorialized to the Jalquin people,
one of the Ohlone that used to call the area home,
surrounded by orange and yellow monkey flowers,
purple thistle, almost there.
- Review of my poetry collection “Two Places” by Nina Serrano of Estuary Press.