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by Sandra McPherson

Was the drummer. Everything was tinted
In blue on the West Side,
Especially ears.
I kept dancing with Popcorn, I was
Supposed to be getting down
Breathing in the floating smoke.
Where were we from, they asked.
The far west side of the country. An ocean
With no smoke but various blues. A beach
Slanting down to a swash around the ankles.
We would call when we got there
And say hello, keep in touch. We would
Send a box of beach-combings with that
Salt smell unwinding from ropes of weeds.
They could use whatever drugs would enhance
The experience of opening the box.
They would go on playing the great sounds
Of their smoke, our fog, something
Like that since we couldn't be together
Ever again, except there, in the tight,
Cool grooves of the scallop shell.


Sandra McPherson has published twenty collections of poetry. Her recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in FIELD, Poetry, The Yale Review, Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review, Ecotone, and elsewhere. She taught for twenty-three years at UC Davis and four years at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her collection of sixty-seven African-American improvisational quilts is housed at the UC Davis Design Department. She founded Swan Scythe Press. (2/2017)

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