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Naming things

You told me it was California false heliotrope. I still remember, although I never again will wander down a valley cascading with the shiny green leaves lapping my waist and calling, ''Be a Dorothy in this poppyfield.'' The leaves swirled and frothed under my fingers. You taught me that was Gambel oak. They were sky rockets. It was a lesser night hawk. You gave me a book, and now I bring wildflowers home and learn smooth vetch, butterfly weed, whitlow-wort. I gave you a book. Then I saw a slate-colored junco and a black-billed magpie. We leave the lectures and books behind and say, ''Look! What a pretty flower!'' At dawn and night the comforting sights return and smooth the scary edges of sleep. Just a soft petal, a sweet song, an arched wing. When awake, I still desire to enunciate.

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