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Georgics: some news of Merced, CA

The way the pines whorl. A dog’s stomach
rubbed in a circular motion, dragging the skin
with each rub. The deciduous trees shed leaves
as if a fur coat. Teased off the bare shoulder, then
puddled around the feet. Bear Creek is swollen.
Shopping carts buried in the lubricated muck. No
fish. None you would want to eat. A child points out
a swan. It is an egret, pecking at the silvery tab
of a Pepsi can. The levy takes another 4-year-old.
Yard sales permeate each block. Missing persons, too.
A pick-up truck dumps a pit bull mix into a citrus orchard.
The dog lopes on cracked paws, the meat of his hind leg
hanging by a thread. Flash-freeze kills mange. Each
hesperidium made holiday bauble or morningstar
flail. When monocultures leave the ugly fruit
behind, it ferments. The animals become inebriated
and make bad decisions. The egrets go back
to the tall pine on 25th street, encircle it until they tire
molt and fall dead. This is the fourth year in a row.
Military recruiters pick high schools clean.
The predator, fired for impregnating his student.
Her parents support a marriage once she’s of age.
A sex worker, killed—front page coverage because
a judge died beside her in the car crash. The Asian
market in flames. Arson termed accident. Human
trafficking unnoticed. Staples in the bake
sale cookies at the “good” school. Shooting
range on the commute. Meth trailers. A mudslide
thwarted by deep roots.




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Originally from Merced, California, AC Harmon lives in the East Bay near Berkeley. She attended St. Mary's College of California for her MFA, completing it in June of 2018. These poems appeared in her thesis, which was surprisingly (or not so surprisingly) pastoral and eco. Her poetry will be featured in a forthcoming issue of Inklette, and has been featured in Bay Area Generations #47.