Monica Youn

25th & Dolores


One could search this landscape in vain
for signs of necessity. From here
just the gently tumbled houses,

the tall white hospital, a garland
of palm trees unreeling down the avenue
and a bright scuffed sky the body

keeps mistaking for grieving.
The calla lilies are one form of life.
How they persist in their slow

unwelling, how they define
luxury as the absence of threat.
"The most beautiful freeway

in America" is beginning
to the right: its heaped-up hills,
its full-strength sunlight burning off

the camphor-infused fog.
You were wrong. I'm still capable
of begging. Crook your arm

around my neck, knees behind
my knees, and march me downhill
into the standing water.