View from the Headlands

The longer I know it, my husband says, this place,
the worse I know it is—the ruined,

the once. Paradise once (we think), and still
the hills, the bridge: some perfect gleaming headway,

hills falling down into October, brown, browner, sparks
of the papery eucalyptus. How do you even

talk about that? Looking down: one person’s
glimmering pasts, someone else’s ruined moment,

five generations, or three, at the intersection
of Esperanza and Home.

We tracked the last ridge, mustard pollen
clinging to our shoes. The night sure

to devolve into real estate gossip, the way
farmland = strip mall, given enough rope.

The moon hung, or was tethered, low in its cradle.
Down below, headlights, sirens. Women

with their silly little dogs. And behind the first hill
our neighborhood, gentrifying/corroding, strung out

along the streetcar, the sweet, skinny Armenian grocery clerk
hauling in the cantaloupes as the lights go on

in the apartment upstairs. How much more
can I tell you, you who have your own

(broken, ultimate) home? And the surer, he said, I am—
This untenable near-island, eroding at the edges.   end