Colder in the old days, we lit smudge pots—
met New Year’s Eve with the all-night roar
of wind machines to stir the air, save
an orange crop bound by sentries, plumes
of flame down every road and dirt avenue—
starlight twinkling madly in a black sky.
Up on the hour to check the temperature,
Dad slept on the wood floor by the fire—
wool sweater, reek of diesel, ready to rise
while we dreamed of what we missed
in the country—like Mom’s new dress,
the festivities and friends in Visalia.
She learned not to cry, let disappointment
spill so easily, especially onto others—
a farmer’s daughter, a farmer’s wife.