by Amanda Valdez

Imagine the clay of the central valley,
the grains dried up and hoisted into air
after spun under old, worn down tires.
Think of this dirt from a fractured back road,
something like Avenue nine, where the lane
is narrow, and a farmer shares the gravel 
with a blue-collared family in their dated 
burgundy van. Feel the suns heat, holding 
the lines of almond blossoms like two hands 
cupping water—water this dusty land needs, 
dust we comb out of our hair, for a push of wind 
to snap them off the branches like falling snow. 
Remember this farmer, this family, this dirt 
we drive through morning till night trying 
to make sense of the dust, of these short cuts 
we take for a glimpse of an open, warm field¬––
the particles that make up our skin and soil. 
Imagine this road is an endless one 
with stunning lines of orchards like pure, 
white emissaries, against a clear sky 
as if you’ve never left.