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California Bay Laurel

Umbellularia californica





The laurel sweeps its lower limbs

all the way down the rock

and into the creek that wasn’t there

till last week’s rainstorm.


If leaves could speak—

and they do, in their everlasting fragrance—

they would welcome the sound of water

traveling over sandstone.


The leaves would say,

We missed you—for almost a year,

you were gone.  Please stay this time.

And the water would say, Maybe.  See ya.


—from Getting to Gardisky Lake (Stephen F. Austin State UP, 2016)

Photo Credit: Amanda Sparkman

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