Dear East County

You cradled our moto-X babies, our strip mall 
teens, and three pack a day fathers, chilled 
our ring-tabbed beer cans in your run-off 
rivers, and absorbed oil
rising like mist from our vats of fried food, sucked 
exhaust from our tricked-out cars, we ate
bulbous berries by the hallock, pondered savory, illicit
mushrooms blooming in your fecund
forests, you gave up Douglas firs by the chevron
for our duplexes and ranches, you watched us watching
TVs in family rooms kitted with lay-away
furniture, you blessed the brash
woman in the sequined unitard lifting off
ice with the thrust of a winter wren, you blessed
the toothless, the BB gun sharpshooters, mobile
home dwellers, we raced the light
rail along a concrete canyon, played the house
and the house was a machine, made donuts in the parking
lot of Fred Meyers, sodium lights
came on, night-blooming flowers pouring through back seats
seeded with wrappers and writhing kids with nowhere
lives, we leaned into the hollow, despoiled, bullied
you, and drank, drank, drank the nectar.

My mother dropped me in the warped
stern of your canoe, paddled me through the rough
locks of the great waters that spilled into rock
salt waters west of East, and I made myself
in your image—leaping salmon, drive-through
dairy, clover-leafed highways, smog-haloed
mountain, sun an electric current splicing the dammed
waters that still carve rock and bone.

Photo by Juan Davila on Unsplash