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divorcing California takes time

growing up in Los Angeles

city of tamales and lucky cats waving from the top shelf

pasty white girl towering over brown friends with killer serves on the court

white bread alphabetized between Fernandez and Gonzaga

power lines draping the streets like crepe paper and piñatas

hills green for twenty minutes in the spring and then wildfire ashes

falling on the playground at recess commingling with the smog

like cinnamon and sugar on a churro

we washed our hair every day rinsed and repeated


nighttime helicopters with searchlights like Hollywood

chuttering and chopping through the never-dark ET sky 

glowing from movie stars’ color TV’s somewhere above the big white sign

behind their big white gates where they washed the famous cement

out from under their fingernails


eyes straight ahead through the park

smell of funny smoke from the amphitheater

navigating between the cholos and the perverts

to get to Algebra before the second bell

safety in numbers

homecoming game in the Rose Bowl

makes me want to brag we were so cool

kicking Franklin’s ass in our imaginations

spending New Year’s Eve in the gutters making out and waiting

watching to confirm that our float was the bitchin’est of them all



city looks cleaner, tidier from the air above LAX

rusty Spanglish dusts itself off as the cabin pressure changes in my brain

while cravings for Ernie Jr.’s and Casa Bianca mix on my tongue

the spongy air washes over my high altitude dry skin

absorbing oleander and eucalyptus and sea salt and leaf-blower fumes


divorcing California takes time




copyright Megan E. Freeman

originally published in Lessons on Sleeping Alone

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