Halvard Johnson
California Sonnet

Here there were rumors of Lakers, their names inscribed
on the insides of eyelids, backs of t-shirts and jerseys.
Palm trees, frondless till the very top, and then exploding
against the night sky high above the LA River, rushing

seaward through the dense undergrowth of our imaginations.
At the intersection of Pickford and Hayworth, we stood
stock still, expecting . . . well, what? Do you remember?
Some tour bus, I guess, touring the streets named after stars.

Two days before, we'd been slipping the ashes of your husband
into the calm waters of El Pacifico, just off the jetty down
at Marina del Rey on the Sunday morning of Fathers' Day,
scull crews and yachtlings gliding by--and there! That dark

shadowy thing in the water! Was it a skate? And there was that
new boy, the boy of your boy, patting the plastic of the bag
with the ashes of your husband inside, saying goodbye to
Grandpa. And the Aussie parents of your boy's girl, down from

Cupertino, five and a half hours by road. And after all that,
brunches for all at Bamboozle, just out of the sun, for a change.