Oranges and Pomegranates
by Ruth Bavetta

I’m tired of hearing about weathered barns
and cows and icy Vermont winters.
Sometimes it seems that every poet in America
lives on a farm in New England. Enough

already, give me someone who sings of golden hills
dehydrated under an August sun, of sage
and chaparral, eucalyptus and red-tailed hawks,
and crummy motels hooded with bougainvillea.

Tell me of freeways wide as the Plains of Abraham,
interchanges thicketed like mangrove swamps,
and tides of tile-roofed houses spread out
in mortgaged blots across the land.

Spin songs of palms and pyracantha, of olives
and oranges and pomegranates, of beaches,
tawdry with bottles and cigarette butts,
and the smell of sprinklers on a sun-baked sidewalk.

Let me see Latinos in white straw hats selling oranges
at the freeway offramps while ghost coyotes nip
at the tasseled edges of the city. I crave the pure,
magnificent, bloody beauty of a smoggy sunset.

SOURCE: Previously published in Embers on the Stairs, Ruth Bavetta (Moontide Press).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’ve lived in Southern California all my life. My poetry is full of eucalyptus and red-tailed hawks, of the Pacific Ocean outside my window, of brushfires and chapparal, of low tide and the high Sierra. I couldn’t keep them out even if I wanted to.

IMAGE: “San Clemente, California, Pier at Sunset” by Roger Merrill. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ruth Bavetta’s poems have been published in Rhino, Rattle, Nimrod, Tar River Poetry, North American Review, Spillway, Hanging Loose, Poetry East, Poetry New Zealand and numerous others, and are included in the anthologies Wait a Minute; I Have to Take off My Bra, Feast, Pirene’s Fountain Beverage Anthology, Forgetting Home and Twelve Los Angeles Poets. She has published two books, Fugitive Pigments and Embers on the Stairs. A third book, No Longer at this Address, will appear soon. Visit her at