coast starlight

The energy of attempt is greater
than the surety of stasis.
You too can be carved anew
by the details of your devotions.

—Mary Oliver

Emil Bisttram, “Creative Forces” (1936), oil on canvas, 36 x 27 inches

Mountains were backlit to look like cat ears
and the golden hills, deceptively gentle,
were engraved with generational cattle trails.
Sagebrush squat, tilted west. Backyard pools lay
calm behind rows and rows of houses maximized
to worship light from a perpetually setting sun.
Spacecraft occasionally crash-land this far west,
missing the Pacific Ocean by a magnitude.
And then the hypnotic groves of ripening oranges
murmur my fate. The trees changed. So can I.

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