I didn’t know how slow you grow, cloning
yourself in wider rings for thousands of years.
Seeking a skewer, I must have cut off thirty
years just to roast my hot dog.
I turned my meat, squatting like Pleistocene
man, focused on crispy skin and moist beef.
Yet before the last glacier melted, wiser
cooks knew to leave you alone and search for coyote willow.
I imagined dessert roasting
marshmallows on my reused stick.
But when acrid tar chokes my breathe,
I spit your toxic bitterness.
A Rare Night Air
I’m drawn to the window
by the low-pitched hacking chop
of a copter passing parallel.
I slide the glass to listen for its direction.
Is it headed to the hospital or circling
a criminal’s car on the north side of the 10?
This February’s air is too cool like the back
of the refrigerator’s top shelf
where the misplaced lettuce freezes,
but the scent is not of too long forgotten food
or summer’s hot bitter smog.
I feel a clean, unusually chilled, moist breeze.
I close my eyes and breathe
what must be the mountain trees’
release from the just melted snow.
On this rare night I will sleep
with the windows wide open
and dream the traffic’s drone
is the constant tumbling waves
lapping California Boulevard,
Redlands’ western most shore.
David Stone enjoys cooking, linocut printing, and exploring Southern California nature with his wife and two children. A graduate of Atlantic Union College and La Sierra University, he teaches English at Loma Linda Academy. His poetry has most recently appeared in Identity Theory, Shuf, and the 2013 Writing from Inlandia.