Driving up the coast of California,
we found a town dressed up like a country.
It had windmills and an ostrich farm,
seventeen fancy needlework stores,
and a tourist's tiny white dog
posing inside a giant red shoe.
It might have been confusing,
but we, like so many, found it charming.
The weather cooperated.
The mountains formed overlapping chevrons
and the shadows in the gulleys
were the color of the ocean.
Billboards warned again and again
of a restaurant famous for pea soup.
We bought the local wines
and in the evening I wrote this postcard,
trying to describe for you the beauty
of the arid hills, how the brown grass
lies down beside the highway
and the trees spread out along the ridges,
solitary bulwarks of flaming green.