of poppies


Of all the things she left behind
I think she misses poppies most,
twisting foothill roads that slide
on flakes of shale down to the coast
from pink-lit Topa Topas brushed with sage.

The photo fades with age;
so hard to make it out, so little left
remains of the California that she knew:
she knew she’d never marry, never settle
never really be a writer; damned
if she would ever move to Texas,

but I believe that she expected fully
flowers in her hair, crowns
of orange and white playing
on auburn whispers there

California and Matilija
weighing softly on her brow.

She stills goes out running now;
everyday her fitbit feeds me
all the details, but it can’t see
like I do, where she goes:

Cedar trees fading into mist,
a slowly rising sudden chill
blows up from crescent valley
and she knows that down below
awaits a field of poppies.


For my wife, Becky.

© Jason Kerr, 2015

Photo owned by Denise and used with permission.