California, Again
It’s the first
hour of evening
and we’re flying

towards California
again, and the promise
that awaits us there.

Say something here,
as the cities switch
on beneath us,

about the myths of the West,
and how everyone
will loll in the orange

groves, unchanging.
But who could stomach
that stasis? Unfairly,

the darkness grows.
The reading lamps
come on, in clusters.

They’re like little cities
themselves, containing
multitudes: how

the plot changes
from glow to glow,
the motives mix;

the messy synthesis—
watch it cover
the whole half-world,

the lands we seek,
and the lands we’ve left
behind for good.

And now this new state
we’re in—is it one
of unknowing?

Or California, again?
There’s a ding,
and the reading lights go out

as we start our descent.
For the whole flight, we’ve all 
faced straight forward,

though none of us could see
what lay ahead,
nor, if we turned around,

the contrails stretched out 
for many miles behind us
like a rumor of lodes of gold.
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