We’d stare at horses at Will Rogers Park, then hike
the Loop Trail to Inspiration Point, &
I’d lag back
to be a kid. Alone. & under that aloofness—hid
vengeance. A rusty burr or two
in my left sneaker. & under that—anxiety. The salt
dripping through chaparral
brows, into my brown lashes. &
under that—rage. A perfectly purple
shell some kid favored & lost.
& under that—hope. The pounded
ground. & under that—a vast
clearing on the cosmos, also called Inspiration
Point. A gorgeous, inner hilltop
with a curious figure
taking in the Pacific view.
Breathing chicory & chamise. Naming
every wind-boarder near Catalina
Island. That high-noon, far-sighted figure—seemed
a bit burnt, but warm. A bit divine.
But—sometimes—I didn’t find that figure
wow-ing at a thing
no one had ever seen—at a new bird
better than a phoenix. (There’s something better than
a phoenix!) Sometimes, my hand
stretched towards some nether new
creation & I was the figure
who named it.
Copyright © 2022 by Jennifer Jean. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 26, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.