Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dear Sebastopol

This week our assignment was to write a letter to a town or place.  It turned out to be more difficult than I thought.  I chose to write to Sebastopol, my home town where I now live.  I write about my town a lot, but this didn't make it any easier to write a letter to it!  But, I gave it a shot.  Here is my draft.
Dear Sebastopol –

It’s hard to not get dizzy, here, under
tides of scents—how they grade and terrace the air:
the salt thick tang of wet earth and limestone
against sweet rot of wind fall apples and pears.

Take, for instance, the story of your history:
Little pine sap town on stolen ground. 
Dirt wagon rutted streets.
Lulls of hills lush with redwood and oak cleared to the root.
Then, patchworked into orchards of plums
then orchards of apples then vineyards.
The wide berth of scrub oaks left smoldering
in what was left of the Laguna after charcoal farming.
The train that carried its screaming weight right through the center of town.

Once your silence swallowed me under its glass bell sky.  Now,
I’ve wake slowly, like a good daughter.  Learn to waver in the air
above what I’ve learned until I spot the truth at ground level
and can sense what’s pushing up underneath.  Take, for instance

the WPA mural on the wall of your post office.  For so many years
it framed the idea of you to me: dusty gutted rows of apple trees
flanked by white chicken coops.  This was my sweet, apple town
I carried with me. But, even the Gravenstein is bitter sweet. 

No comments: