The Golden State

Stephen Knight

For Colleen

If not the giant redwoods
taking centuries to reach
the light, nor the lights-
camera-action typhoons
regular as clockwork
in the murky Tonga Bar,
nor, perched above LA,
the penitential Getty –
its prospect of the coastline
smudged by airborne crap,
nor even the Chronicle’s
news that the universe
is flat, and expanding
faster and faster for ever
– ‘Wow! Wow! Wow!’
to quote one scientist –
then how about the way
you drove your car
wrists out, double-jointed,
or, sealed in silver paper,
those skinny joints
I could never light, or
the line in a Visitors’ Book
in the Valley of the Moon
left a decade earlier
(This is a beautiful setting
to put the ghosts to rest)
or else that ‘bohemian’
legacy of Venice Beach,
a henna tendril
fading from your ankle
slowly, over days.