The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Monday and Bohrer Park

Our Valley
By Philip Levine

We don't see the ocean, not ever, but in July and August
when the worst heat seems to rise from the hard clay
of this valley, you could be walking through a fig orchard
when suddenly the wind cools and for a moment
you get a whiff of salt, and in that moment you can almost
believe something is waiting beyond the Pacheco Pass,
something massive, irrational, and so powerful even
the mountains that rise east of here have no word for it.

You probably think I'm nuts saying the mountains
have no word for ocean, but if you live here
you begin to believe they know everything.
They maintain that huge silence we think of as divine,
a silence that grows in autumn when snow falls
slowly between the pines and the wind dies
to less than a whisper and you can barely catch
your breath because you're thrilled and terrified.

You have to remember this isn't your land.
It belongs to no one, like the sea you once lived beside
and thought was yours. Remember the small boats
that bobbed out as the waves rode in, and the men
who carved a living from it only to find themselves
carved down to nothing. Now you say this is home,
so go ahead, worship the mountains as they dissolve in dust,
wait on the wind, catch a scent of salt, call it our life.


On Monday morning we are headed to the Outer Banks, so we had a bunch of stuff we needed to get done on Sunday. We thought that maybe we'd go see Cowboys and Aliens in the middle, but we ended up deciding not to, since we wanted to get to Kohl's weekend sale while we had Kohl's bucks we needed to use from the last weekend sale by the end of July, and it took an absurd amount of time to convince Daniel that he needed to try on a couple of pairs of pants since he needs clothes for college and I can't guess his waist size just by looking. Then we also stopped at Target, Bath & Body Works, CVS, and Giant (we were out of veggie salami), and by then it was late in the afternoon.

My parents invited us over for pizza and cookies, but we couldn't stay late because I had to come home and fold laundry so everyone could pack. The Orioles managed to lose to the Yankees this afternoon and the Nationals managed to beat the Mets, so now we are watching the Cubs trying to beat the Cardinals and rolling our eyes at the idea that whatever debt compromise the arrogant, self-important sellouts excuse me leaders in Congress have come up with is actually a good solution. Here are some more photos from Bohrer Park in Gaithersburg on Saturday:


Happy Lammas-Lughnasadh!

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