California Poppy Mandala Necklace: enamel graphite watercolor on copper with sterling swing bails and chain.
I came to you at 24 with a broken heart and a propensity to wear midriff-exposing t-shirts over it.
I had dreams of owning an El Camino in Metal Flake Blue
and a chihuahua named Pepito
of driving daily to the beach for introspection and guitar strumming-
I was, after all, going to be a musician.
Life put other offers on the table and I accepted
becoming the woman who writes this thank-you letter now
from a cottage in San Jose, baby sleeping nearby...
a woman who has been bitten by the entrepreneurial spirit of your first settlers
who daily consumes the fruits and veggies of your earth
who loves you in spite of traffic and crowding
and grave financial disparities.
After all, you are not those things: we are.
You are the land.
The redwoods and poppies
and wild beasts who roam far from the city lights...
You are the oldest mountains eroded down to nubs by the years
the pockets of wildflowers between ancient oaks.
You are the scent of the ocean
and the burn of the desert
stuck under my skin like a cholla burr...
You, my dear state are home
for this bag of bones.
Thank you for cradling me in your tremulous palm
while I sleep and wake