Seattle Harbor

The sun sackcloths itself, at first, in cedars.
Then a forest fire: blood orange
dashes in spiced haze.
Light broadens
on the white toy houses, the huge Pacific.
Chinese faces, parks and conifers
begin humming underneath the burnisher,
the daily wrestle of earth-cold vs sun-hot
spreads a mat of sweat across the harborside.

Everywhere on yuppie cobble human stink
drizzles the familiar caramel. This is how
they got easterners to pack cattle in ’49:
picture mountainous crabs, fields of vaginal lilies
edging the Sierra, a grating of nutmeg drifted
onto whisked cream like snow–
picture getting daughters
under branches loaded with waxwings in some tuft
of your own acreage.
We know the thirst they had,
filling up their bottles, strapping hope chests
tightly to the cart.


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