Visiting family in L.A.
I am struck
by abundant plant life,
especially blossoms
and fruit,
everywhere.
In the garden
in front of this 1940’s
Hollywood bungalow
are Lilies, Birds of Paradise,
Heather, sublimely blushed
and scented
Roses.
In the back,
Bougainvillea and Lemons
hang across the fence
over the concrete parking area.

We watched half a moon
rise
over downtown L.A.’s skyline
and a few stars shine
through the city lights.

A richly-coated brown
neighborhood cat
visits mornings and evenings.
A busy blue bird—
a jay?—
breakfasts in the lemon tree.
I hear the story
of a squirrel
who scampered out into the middle
of the driveway
and stood high on its hind legs
chattering—”shouting”—
at a human trying to get to the gate
to open it.
Wisely, I think,
the human retreated
before the squirrel.
Then, last night
the legendary raccoon family
made its presence known
in a tree a couple of yards down.
They chased and snarled at each other,
shaking the tree,
arousing the human residents,
some of whom had firecrackers on hand
to chase the raccoons away.
The raccoon racket
continued for quite awhile
anyway.

Profoundly disturbing
is the tragedy
that hundreds of species
become extinct
each week—due,
partly, to habitat loss.
Maybe that’s why I am surprised,
delighted,
for all
who survive
in a deeply urban ecosystem.

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