Poems by Zara Raab

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Rising over California

by Zara Raab

From Canary Summer 2011

Zara lives at the headwaters of the Russian River, a few miles from Vichy Hot Springs east of the Pacific Coastal Range.

Cessna humming, he mounted

the air, climbing above a land

once rich, now adust from use.

Bronco of the clouds, he saw

the land spread out like a strand

of flesh, a woman burning

on her pyre––Shasta and Weed,

Weott, Bear Creek, and Redding..

Once rivers of salmon ran

through stands of redwood timber,

and herds of cattle rumbled

over Humboldt; steamers ran

to the slaughterhouses, some

breaking up on rock or shoal

off Westport or Eureka;

men were shiny bees in swarm.

The Cessna was carapace

as he hummed tunes to the dead,

singing to sleeping guard dogs,

and dipped under rising fog,

scanning the ground below him

for signs of the hill towns once

busy with purpose, searching

the dark for lost mother lodes.

Previously appeared in NoD, University of Calgary Press.

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