—for Mellie Mel and Roxy


(1) There are women born California who dream

they will own oceans for life. They discover this from
French kisses—scratches on a bad boy’s back. Dreams.

It’s through dreams and the momentum of why dreams
slam into their brains—conducting waves to walk into

a reality, a purpose—the hand touching underneath
black lace bra, not squeezing the breast but caressing

the beat, searching life’s bulges, praying for wisdom
that arcs above the head. When the woman here designs

like woman sifting grain on archipelago, in adobe
kitchen, the “Me! Me! Me!” is a hand reaching for all.

(2) Sometimes it’s a splayed hand spreading over her

heart until she can feel dim throb of his heartbeat
pulsing with hers, saying, “I only want tomorrows.”

But for those who’ve never licked the salt in ocean
air, it is a smoke-and-mirror pony-trick. No one

can manhandle constellations. We all have been
burned to a recognition that our scars are smoldering

palisades only reachable by dark seagulls. When
the rain plat plat plats, concrete timbre moans,

sounds out birth noun, Pasadena. In Southern Cali
these women allege loyalty to this dream, pulsating—

but we all lie for a reality, each second, this must.


Photo by Scott Johnson