You remember a wise old relative reflect
with raised brow, “Ah, it was then, that
one moment, when I knew the truth,” or
you recall the line from an ancient movie.
Years ago you sensed things everywhere
turn wrong, the first Gulf War, farm going
broke, as you carried plums and peaches,
apple pears, tomatoes, grapes to open-air
markets by the sea at Monterey and Santa
Cruz. The Ford van radio plays a special
on John Lennon, describes his wish after
acid trip to tell whole world he was Jesus.
My wife and I drive on through Valley’s
thick sullen smog for clearer air, beyond
Los Banos, “The Baths,” then San Luis
Reservoir over steep and gusty Pacheco
Pass that guards the coast. Across four
lanes lie slabs of blown diesel tires, hit
coyote, Cooper’s hawk, flattened feathers
lifting in the breeze. But now, just ahead
in a loud gale of traffic at next tight turn,
on the shoulder waiting with black, deep
watchful eyes, an antlered upright severed
head, no body in sight, gazes like a mirror.