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Sample Poems by Dolores Hayden

Second Marriage

Week after week in early fall we hike
the wasted trail along the dry creek bed,
through withered grasses, past charred laurel groves
where every living thing has weathered fire.
No bloom survives on any sooty stalk.
We climb. Packs chafe our shoulders’ fragile flesh.
We find no new green laurel, so we talk
of sound succession, taking our weekly walks
until pale leaves uncurl beside burned stumps
from seeds that sprouted in the heart of fire.
Wild paintbrush pierces blackened slopes, and shoot
by shoot embraces dry Topanga earth,
kindles the wild new place paired souls can claim,
the canyon floor of flowering inch-high flame.

Pacific Airstream Reaches New England

86 degrees, December

Balmy high. The New Dawns start in June—
eight Decembers have I lived here, never
smelled pink bushes in the winter. Ever.
Sun-warmed, thawed, and lazy, I won’t prune.
Basking, I forget it’s almost Christmas,
shed my heavy sweater. Grass needs mowing,
weighted with full blossoms canes keep growing.
Short-tailed starlings swarm our narrow isthmus,
crowd the maples, cackle ordinary
happiness, black iridescence, hot noon.
Listen: soot wings wheeling snap warm air.
Roses bud to open. Don’t be wary.
Weather beggars winter. Love now, not soon.
Yes, we’ll stretch out on the beach. I dare.

American Yard

—live on six networks, December 27, 2000

Next to a Wal-Mart Santa lit-up red,
local police zip body bags.
                                        “Three Dead,”
the newsmen count, crowding Field Road to gape
at the small house tied with yellow crime scene tape.
Six cameras pan round the narrow lane
where sound trucks double-park. Producers strain:
“Someone know Jon?”
                                    “Know Mills from Guilford High?”
“Good-looking boy.”
“Not mean, a mixed-up guy.”
“He knifed his aunt and cousins,” neighbors state.
The chief intones, “Jon Mills, age 28,
sought by police.”
                            Anchors line up to show
two brand new scooters that could really go,
two swings twisting without the children’s weight.
Raw wind stabs empty seats. Grass fills with snow.