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Salmon Poetry

Placer County Roadside Marker

Scot Siegel

Here is the Goth whose father sleeps 

around. She is the Purple Heart he keeps
on the mantel. She's packed the camo
duffle, stuffed it in the blue Beetle she stole
from her ex's shop. She punches it with 
the top down. Hwy 49 wends south
through scrub oak like a black snake
or a garter snug on the leg of the Mother 
Lode: Gold Country. Peach Blossom
Ghosts of Crocker's Chinese Railroad 
men. She can't get away fast enough
She longs for the scent of bull pines slung 
among the swayback hills of Calaveras 
County. Angel's Camp. Sweet gin from 
a still. Scruff of a boy's chin on her lap
Promise of a little lakeside tryst. She's 
famished when she arrives on his door-
step. He hands her a fistful of yellow 
asters, runs a hot bath with lavender salts
and feeds her a rib eye steak. His single-
wide is homey and she's happy here. The 
floozies and the whiskey fits, the night 
terrors, and the strange calls for bail
all fade like a crass mural on the bar's 
south wall. She'll never fall in love 
again, she tells him in the dream. She'll 
never return to That Devil! She'll 
sleep here forever, if that's what it takes,
turning under a canopy of aspens 
buried in amethyst lupines.

Copyright © Scot Siegel 2012

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County Clare,
V95 XD35,
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