Peter Kline


Little apple. Mountain driftwood
littering the flash-fire chaparral.
Impassable interlocker. Towhee-coral.
Fertile ash.

If I were the designer,
I’d have drawn it taller, just enough
room for one beneath its kinked copper-wire
lightning rods,

and wider-leafed,
its lichen-green more suitably skewed
to intercept drifting rain so fine
it can be breathed.

But see 
how it thrives in the oil-slick soils
and skidrock gullies flanking the canyon highways
above Half Moon Bay.

Minor, ornamental,
unfit for timbering, ideal
for aquaria, parrot perches, patio sculpture, barbecues.
We know its uses.