Good Friday, 1999

Right now I am in the mountains

snowflake pebbles descend from soft skies

I ride a quad ski lift past sugar pines

warm with spring, roots drinking snowmelt

my children sit safely between my wife and me

then ski down steep powdery cliffs

turning slowly, lazy sailboat tacking

through clouds of wind-whipped flakes.


Right now I am driving through foothill towns

spread thick with trees so green

they might burst into flower,

hills that still keep the line drawn on them

by a prehistoric inland sea

long before any Mi Wuk hunted here

I could live forever in that barn

by that pasture under those oak hills.


Right now I am driving past rows of trees

apricot, walnut, plum, peach

white bark at base, white branches in blossom

so thick they might break off

into a hollyhock scepter

rich with nectar, pollen and promise.


Right now I am driving past a windmill city

so strange that Quixote

could not have hallucinated these

retro propellers off some WWII plane

luring falcons to their death;

they fall through stiff winds

to the stagnant cows below.


Right now I am on a bridge above a bay

so shallow a man could stand up in low tide;

barges dredge a channel for big ships

to move south as I drive west,

ever west, over my fourth range today


to a temperate land without snow

without sun and I suddenly realize

in two days something will happen

but right now I‚m waiting for blood to fall

from a sheetmetal sky right where I am.


by Paul Totah

April 2, 1999


Leave a Reply