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Freeway 280 by Lorna Dee Cervantes

Freeway 280


by Lorna Dee Cervantes


Las casitas near the gray cannery,

nestled amid wild abrazos of climbing roses

and man-high red geraniums

are gone now.The freeway conceals it

all beneath a raised scar.


But under the fake windsounds of the open lanes,

in the abandoned lots below, new grasses sprout,

wild mustard remembers, old gardens

come back stronger than they were,

trees have been left standing in their yards.

Albaricoqueros, cerezos, nogales . . .

Viejitas come here with paper bags to gather greens.

Espinaca, verdolagas, yerbabuena . . .


I scramble over the wire fence

that would have kept me out.

Once, I wanted out, wanted the rigid lanes

to take me to a place without sun,

without the smell of tomatoes burning

on swing shift in the greasy summer air.


Maybe it's here

en los campos extraños de esta ciudad

where I'll find it, that part of me

mown under

like a corpse

or a loose seed.

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