Ahwahnee means deep grassy valley & I’d heard
that, just over one hundred years before this one,
miners had pushed the Miwok down into the tall
reeds. Today, the meadow (that swallowed feet
& hands) has stilled itself near a row of dry riparian
arrows aimed up
from that once green bed that eroded the edge
of the baseball diamond & rusted legs of monkey bars.
I drive past what was once a tuberculosis clinic
& cannot see ghosts—no
spirits rise from wildcat dens. The long dead hide
in fine strands of woven moss cemented
to granite backs that rise from the feet of oak.
Now, mountain children drink from fountains
& I’ve parked my car where firemen practice
emergency preparedness on spring mornings, as gnats
build clouds, as each pine siskin combs my hair,
taking strands to sew their complicated nests.