Jan/Feb 2015 Poetry

Coast Starlight, Northbound

by John Ladd Zorn

Image courtesty of the British Library's Photostream

Coast Starlight, Northbound

          (a sign points the way)
Palm trees rise
Over a rusted tin-roof barn
Where braceros stoop
In rows of strawberries
Outside of Oxnard;
Plastic-covered fields
Smokestacks in back
Odor of onions, though, there
Where the Tehachapis
Block the eastern horizon

Here now is the Pacific.
Ventura. Anacapa,
A dark form in the gloom,
River mouth, driftwood,
Feet from the sea.
Over a crumbling wall
Surfers clambered past
Stones rounded by waves over eons
Collected into fire pits,
Past clusters of deadwood,
Tangled like lost souls—
The Inferno open on my lap.


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