Suburban pastoral

The eucalyptus trees still stand in line but the orange groves they shielded are gone. The arrowheads and chipped bones of Natives still sit under the muck of the Upper Bay. There’s a Goat Hill without goats. The old Rancho fills up with boxy little houses and the rabbits show up, surprised, outside the lobby of the Marriott.

Tumbleweeds fill a mall parking lot on a blustery day. A woman taking out her garbage confronts a coyote by the swimming pool. A hawk sits on the light pole at the top of the flyover between two freeways, waiting.

They’ve graded down the hills and sucked the water out of the land to put in the parking lot under the new mall. The foundations of the houses are buckling upwards with efflorescence from the concrete reacting with the acidic soil.

A perfect V formation of pelicans coasts silently over the balloons of a used car dealership. Possums amble distractedly down sidewalks past midnight, hissing at the occasional teenaged lovers in cars they pass.

Past the beach packed with humans and their happy trash, past the harbor bobbing with boats, past the bell buoy and the oil platforms, the sea surges and rolls on and on and on in an unimaginable blue distance, forever.

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