Friday, 23 of February of 2018

Dennis Fritzinger – It Used To Be

humphrey the humpback
was what we called
the whale that swam
into san francisco bay
and up the delta,
delighting visitors
and natives alike,
who turned out in droves
to catch a glimpse.
such a rare thing!
a whale, so large
it really stands out,
larger than an elephant,
larger than a dinosaur
(or so we’re told).
it used to be
whales appeared in the bay
much more often,
and it used to be
salmon swam more thickly
in the streams,
and it used to be
there were more redwoods towering
over the valleys,
over the coast,
over the san franciscan formation
with its greenish
asbestos-laden rock.
now there are
fewer san francisco garter snakes;
just one san francisco manzanita;
and who knows how many
san francisco blue butterflies
have escaped the bulldozer.
the bay area is a great place to live,
i love its restaurants, its hiking trails,
its fog, its movie locations,
its alleys named after poets,
but i’m not sure any of this
would impress a wayward whale
or a salmon, trying to find
its way upstream.

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