Bio Note: The fires that have ravaged California put me in mind of Napa, where I once spent a few weeks a year with poet friends. “Mansions” is the title poem from my first book, which went out of print in record time. My most recent book is Gravity: New & Selected Poems, Tebot Bach, 2018.
Live oak on yellow hills, below them, young vines. The neighbor’s children chase quail across the browning grass. This landscape, Kris says, invites fire. In the kitchen, Margaret and Sharon, laughing. The thwack, thwack of their knives on the cutting board, making salad. That night I dream again of a new house: tall archways, oak floors. I reach for blackberries from my window. Another night, before, a stab of dreamless wonder shakes me from my sleep. Once, in an unfamiliar ocean, I thought of swimming home, afraid of steady beauty: dark bodies against the pink-gray stone. Or, that relief (rounding the corner in another car, seeing my car in the driveway) of already being home. In this dwindling heat, I grow used to uneasy sleep, the terror of disinterested perfection: scent of fennel, women laughing, the burnt oak stately among the untouched trees.
Originally published in Mansions Event Horizon, 1990
©2020 Donna Hilbert
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