And Then There is California


“There is science, logic, reason; there is thought verified by experience. And then there is California.”

—Edward Albee


The horizon gutted, skinned, unfurled
and dried like a diamond back, no secrets,
no secret sea cave stash, so evident it all seems
invisible: fissures in the orange San Andreas,
smoking asphalt on a runaway go-cart, 100%
clear skies in Funky Town, Manson said,
“There’s no slack in my act.”  Mercury spread
so see-through thin, see this on the other side:


a girl dribbling gas into a fresh-empty 40
out on 10th and Ave. K: for the broke down
Maverick or her friends to huff?  Soon barefoot
before the swift, black aqueduct, nearly naked,
the parrot motif adorning her panties aquafies
her little butt peacockishly, but way cooler,
more Mexican—sudden color in a blinding
field of beige. The animals all live underground.
People shoot at nothing—water, the hills.


Originally published in Ploughshares


Photo By Travis S.


About Author

Jennifer L. Knox is the author of three books of poems, The Mystery of the Hidden Driveway, Drunk by Noon, and A Gringo Like Me, all available from Bloof Books. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, American Poetry Review and four times in the Best American Poetry series. She is at work on her first novel.

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