Skip to content →

The Visit

You should get out of here, my friend said, so we drove north

out of Arizona, and coming up through California the shape we saw by the road

was not a person, the green we saw not the green

of the Border Patrol’s dogcatcher trucks, that’s what they call them,

cage in the back so from the back you can see

the desert running north as they drive south, Red-tailed Hawks

taking off in the heat, the heat like another person—this green

was the green of fields north of Los Angeles, Pacific green

opening to our left as we drove, green eyes

of my friend’s oldest sister, who showed us the way

into the forests of Santa Cruz, where men from Portugal used to cut

Redwood trees to burn, and built kilns from stones they broke with other stones,

and dropped the limestone from the hills into the kilns, and kept it there,

and stayed by it, and added wood all night to it, so in the kilns

it became another thing, the men coming back to town,

two days off after two weeks in the forest,

moths around the lamps, trains calling out in the night,

dragging the stone north. It’s heavy,

that stone. But they carried it. And men built San Francisco out of it,

and they didn’t complain, I think, as my friend didn’t complain or swear like I did

when the two of us carried the body, Elias—

and the stone didn’t burn when San Francisco burned in 1906,

my friend’s oldest sister tells me this in her family’s house in Santa Cruz,

she’s sitting at the piano to play us sonatas,

she’s making us coffee, she’s making us bread, she’s cutting pieces of apples

into our hands, as though she didn’t know where our hands had been.

from RestFind more by Margaree Little at the library

Copyright © 2018 Margaree Little
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

Published in Margaree Little Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.