Born in a San Francisco Tributary
First night back in my childhood home after
the remodel, the AC kicks awake into a familiar
trip-note. A driftwood angel casts long wings
over a newly white wall, sepia exiled
to attic living. Only some shapes are the same,
the backsteps still a place to sit and scrape all sweetness
from early oranges.
Living North, I miss the coyote hills of California,
yellow with dead grass, mustard flower, and afternoon heat
only swimming cold water can wring out. Summers
and summers ago, before fire was just another seasonal thing,
the Blankenship boys dug all through these hills, building
better air for their bikes. Every year since
it’s all churned into firebreak. Earth upturned,
roots to the air, full of distance.
Emily L. Pate is a writer, creative writing mentor, and obscure fact collector originally from California and currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. Her poetry and creative nonfiction have been published in Blending Magazine and The Northwest Passage.