May 16, 2017

K.F. Hastings

FIFTIES SAN FRANCISCO: A CHILD’S TOUR

Walk to the Palace all twisty turny, down this way and that,
dance like the bloomers hanging overhead, steaming sour dough in hand,
squeeze through the hole in the fence, gather decaying angel heads to breast,
feed the fattened pigeons, the angry-eyed swan moving like a big question
over the crumbling dome’s reflection,

walk on rail lines, step gravel step, sucking in eau d’ creosote and briney bay,
cross the daisy freckled green and lose your red buckled shoes,
pad down slippery stone steps to toe numbing water,
nab one starfish, two, dazzling among the barnacles,
side-stepping crabacles,

stuff one in each pocket and amble home,
lay them out in the desert darkness of your under-bed constellation
and when the accuser comes in, nose a’whiffing, saying
you’ve been off the block again, stare up
all platter-eyed and sinless,

and like wavelets slapping oompa time,
like low clouds kissing whatever they find—even
inmates in their island yard—
whisper
Honest, Mama, no.

from Rattle #16, Winter 2001
Tribute to Boomer Girls

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K.F. Hastings: “I was raised by San Francisco, rather than in it. I am intrigued by the ways imagination informs place, and how place affects imagination.”