When you were born, sycamore leaves
were brown and falling. They sifted
through the stable door and laid their hands
upon your cheek. Sunlight bent
through cracks in the wall and found
your lips. It was morning now.
Joseph slept, curled on the straw in a corner.
Just after Groundhog Day, summer begins
in Santa Barbara. Keen smells of blossoms
layer the air, the yellow bloom of mustard
weed and sourgrass and acacia fulfilling
their own prophecy on every side.
I am five years old. It is a lamentable
week—or two weeks—after Christmas in Anaheim.
All the way around the block there are
Christmas trees at mute attention on the curb.
The summer you were seven
you could hardly sleep
that night before your first recital.
“I’d rather break my arm,” you said.
There are still fall colors here, even in Santa Barbara:
the bright crimson of toyon berries, clustered
against the paling sky, the chartreuse mottling
of sycamore leaves and yellowing rust of bay …
A lake lies all alone in its own shape.
It’s not going anywhere.
A lake can wait a long time
for a hiker to come
and camp on its shore.