Song with Day Glo & Jelly

Tess Taylor

Hulky & afloat on seas of parking
the old Plaza
                    dated from the fifties—

sold Day Glo Ice & jelly shoes,
new Sweet Valley High & sour candy.

Our flock would flock to Woolworths,
buy 99-cent Wet & Wild to line our lips.

We wandered home between the glaze of windshields.
At McPhee’s, McPhee still measured feet

& ordered in our red saltwater sandals.
Someone got shot: McPhee died: I went to college.

Later I learned how it all was covered streambed,
The once-site of the Castro Hacienda.

Before that: Ohlone, bear habitat, and tule.
In the same spot, they built a new bad Plaza.

Cars inch by Bed Bath & Beyond.
Sometimes I dream up the old ranchero,

live oak, monarch, poppies, bears.
Sometimes I can hear the buried stream.

Someone’s made a point of some remembrance:
near the drive-thru bank, there is one tiny plaque.

Tess Taylor is the author of five collections of poetry, including Work & Days, named one of the 10 best books of poetry of 2016 by The New York Times. She has two new books of poems: Last West, part of Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures, at MoMA, and Rift Zone.
Originally published:
April 1, 2020


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