On this mountain our streets curve, curl and dead end
when we least expect it.
Here’s how you make a perfect loop from my house to yours:
“Down Monserat, right on Cipriani, left on Ralston, right on Alameda and around again…”
On this mountain, fog hangs over a vale of flickering green leaves,
and children walk in pairs, with backpacks and musical instruments,
bracing themselves against the wind.
Deer eat from this mountain, from our gardens, our hands,
then pause under streetlights to lure mountain lions.
On this mountain, the ice cream man scooping mint chocolate chip,
sometimes slips nickel bags under cupped hands.
We share a cocktail on this mountain, weep or quarrel bitterly over
traffic, permits, power and what to do with our little plots of land.
A man dies without reason, and on this mountain, a whole town feels
that loss as if he was their own husband, father, brother, son.
Like the Salson Indians fishing the streams, the Spanish settlers
naming the streets, the San Franciscans seeking more sun
We are a beautiful mountain tribe
collecting our quiet histories.
And we too will leave a trace on this mountain.
by Tanu Mehrotra Wakefield
copyright Tanu Mehrotra Wakefield, 2014