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The Santa Ana

I know Winter in San Diego
by the Santa Ana—
dry and hot and something more,
it dresses the sidewalks and streets
in a peculiar heat.
A Santa Ana season breaks just like
a fever: sudden like when you plunge
into the frigid ocean,
but also just like a fever
in that it inflames the senses;
flowers drool their scent, their pollen,
insects bumble more slowly,
and the horizon of asphalt swims in the air
like the sun’s shimmer off the sea…

Blanche DuBois must have visited here
to know exactly that feeling
to hold an afternoon within the palm
of your hand, to roll it between your
fingers…

Also like a fever—the air burns so slightly
and anything lying in sunshine feels as warm
as skin, as the blood rushing beneath;
somewhere someone on I-5 unrolls his
window to a flood of warmth, somewhere
someone sinks into a pool while the garden’s
final fall flowers sag and blur color in heat,
and every green thing loses itself, loses a bit of
life…

And as I step out into the warm darkness in Santee
where it feels like the night itself holds you
in the deep palm of its hand, holds you against its
beating chest, I feel
somehow
baptized.


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