The design is wise, I know:
the crowns grow just so wide
to ease the tree-shakers’ passage;
narrow pipes miser the water.
Even light cooperates. Even the wind
From Highway 5, the green corridors
swing shut, swing shut, swing shut.
They disappear at any other angle.
Like a forest
they tangle the eye’s incursions.
Their one green is an obsession.
It’s now midsummer—soon
the bitterness will mellow,
the first shell will split open
to the hush of the never-rainfall.
You’ll find it by these markers:
the abandoned billhook and the sheen of poison.
Listen to Peter Kline read "Manzanita":
Little apple. Mountain driftwood
littering the flash-fire chaparral.
Impassable interlocker. Towhee-coral.
If I were the designer,
I’d have drawn it taller, just enough
to leave room for me beneath its kinked copper-wire
its lichen-green more suitably skewed
to intercept whorls of drifting rain so fine
I breathe it in.
it thrives in the oil-slick soils
and skidrock gullies flanking the canyon highways
above Half Moon Bay.
unfit for timbering, ideal
for aquaria, parrot perches, patio sculpture, barbecues.
We know its uses.
Some of Peter Kline's recent poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Ploughshares, The Southern Poetry Review, THEthe Poetry Blog, and Measure. He is the recipient of the 2010 Morton Marr Prize from Southwest Review, as well as a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, where he is currently a lecturer.