I drive down I-5 past almond trees
             flat charcoal vector field
scoring the direction and magnitude

of last summer's fires
             In my right mirror
flickers a crane

in a brown ditch bowed
             marble Madonna
wings parting white folded robes

Starlings swarm the overpass
             their mud nests
thick oil paint slip

past as if I’m not the one moving
             At the Grapevine I park
in the shade of a Shell station

sleek grackles lurk
             below an old poplar
little birds like sepia memories

arranged on a picket fence
             Surfing San Onofre at sunset
I mistake a string of gulls

for a helicopter
             through soft breakers
I follow the perfect

silver circle above the horizon
             I think, I have caught the moon
at its fullest watch it

for a few seconds or minutes
             when clouds weaken
it bites my eyes

the sun all this time
             That night on the bluffs
three aircraft land

in the grass their wings
             stern black brows
Back home

I pretend highway 24’s roar
             is the hush of a stream
the yard is squirrel

scrabble on redwood
             slow yawn of a Boeing
ambulance wail

bird mnemonics—
             hoodle hoodle drink-your-tea cherry
cherry cherry peter peter jeremy

I don’t know what
             each song means don’t
know what the ambulance meant

I am relearning nouns
             from early childhood:
truck, sun, bird, plane

I read the crane was an egret
             the starlings were swallows
I look up

the aircraft
             its name,

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