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in plain air 143
Through town this afternoon,
Heading home, looking forward
To dinner and the evening with her,
The town so pleasant in the clear, late light
Refl ected from the white undersides of clouds
Pushing out over the rooftops
From the mountains, the air
Chill, fresh off the ocean --
at los olivos and alameda padre serra
Below St. Mary's retreat
In its greenery, on its hill,
Are some unowned olive trees
Backed by a stone wall
In a crook of the busy street.
You can visit them when you please.
Though trucks gear down and brake,
Growling and hissing, and cars
Whoosh by the place all day,
The light's clear there, the gray
Grove whitens, when it stirs,
As if for its own sake,
The ground is packed and bare
And stained bright purple and black
From the unpicked bitter fruit
That spurt from underfoot.
Walking, I do not lack
For quiet in that air.