O California, don’t you know the sun is only a god
if you learn to starve for him? I’m bored with the ocean
I stood at the lip of it, dressed in down, praying for snow
I know, I’m strange, too much light makes me nervous
at least in this land where the trees always bear green.
I know something that doesn’t die can’t be beautiful.
Have you ever stood on a frozen lake, California?
The sun above you, the snow & stalled sea—a field of mirror
all demanding to be the sun too, everything around you
is light & it’s gorgeous & if you stay too long it will kill you
& it’s so sad, you know? You’re the only warm thing for miles
& the only thing that can’t shine.
Danez Smith’s forthcoming book, Homie, is out on Graywolf Press in January 2020.
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