Mike Cluff

Reflections For A Lingering Summer
Raincross, California      September 1919

Summer rains
bring them forward
but for too short a time.

Estelle Sampson
notices legends
parallel reality
a bit neatly
in this set of hills and valleys
and her periods of placid years
are placed too far apart
by all sorts of gods and demons
that romp and rampage
under the signal of
the double raincross
a blend of Catholic and Navajo
that defines this land
just a bit too well.

De Anza and his compadres
brought strife and persecution
to this inland place
of sharp peaks and deep arroyos
the flattest plains
and their soils,
waters and animals
now suffer
now more than even before
when the other gods
were more benevolent
when the earthbound people
just let them be.

Estelle looks to the western
always-hot sun
and thinks of dogwood winters
back home
in eastern
West Virginia
and smiles.

Yes she just sits bemused
before rest calls her home
between Jurupa and Mission Boulevards.


Del Rosa    1968

In the full moon
of an August Sunday,
the one before Labor Day,
just above San Bernardino,
the stingy musky slap-smell
of grapefruits
from the tree next
to the half-covered patio
on Holly Vista where
Dogwood does a “T”,
is another special specimen
of lanterns in the darkness
which add a sad spice
to such a series of nights
right before autumn
and elementary school
comes galumphing in.


Emmaline Case

The lady in the moldy  woolen  cape
searches for the answer
to why all these years
have come up missing
or misplaced
and why children are in crosswalks
around three each afternoon
why the stores on Arlington
would not let her in
any more.

And those who give her rides
smile just a bit too much
for her taste:

Learning to drive in Arkansas
must have happened
was it yesterday
later today
sixty-seven years ago
or a week from now
but it occurred
and I was unbounded then.


Mike Cluff is a fulltime English and Creative Writing instructor at Norco College. He has lived steadily in the Highland and Redlands area since 1998. His eighth book of poetry Casino Evil was published in June 2009 by Petroglyph Books.