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LA BREA
by Glyn Maxwell

Los Angeles. So just
guess what I saw: not the dust
or the wide jammed road, not that. And not
the park where enormous playthings eat
 
the shouting children. No, and the glass white
televised cathedral?—that
was a sight seen for the sin-
gle flashed moment, and gone.
 
I saw the tar-pits at La Brea,
where a dark endowed museum squats, and where
the thick blots of lake are watched,
and the haired replicas stroked and touched
 
by kiddies. There’s a tour:
the intelligible stone, the Short-Faced Bear,
the Dire Wolf, American Lion and Mastodon,
and Man with not much brain.
 
Well they did all make a dumb
choice that day! But my day was warm
and fascinating. Try to see these
tar-pits, in La Brea, in Los Angeles.
***
“La Brea” appears in Glyn Maxwell’s collection The Boys at Twilight: Poems 1990-1995 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2000).

PHOTO: “La Brea Tarpits, Dusk” by Menetnashte, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.