In Half Moon Bay

there are all these halves
at the edge of the sea,
like half a heart of shore
briefly cradling a sea star
that has bravely lost its arms.
When its stone coral mouth
is already drained of sea water,
its spine of honeycombed lime
would be the last to go.
At low tide, the feisty and starry
flounder leaves tracks in pursuit
of ghost shrimp;
while the shy and snowy plover
wades in and out of waves,
not playing but foraging
for sand hoppers,
its fortune tied with the tides
like sand and moonshine.
But count on the bread to still
rise on century-old bricks
six days a week, like goodwill,
or good fortune inside a wave.

(Postcard poem #4: This is part of a series of poems I’m writing about the different communities in San Mateo County.) #speakpoetryinsanmateocounty

There are no kings in America
(Opening of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors’ Meeting on July 9, 2019)

Poetry, please
(San Mateo County Board of Supervisors’ Meeting, October 23, 2018)

And when we speak
let it be said

that nothing is lost
in translation.

That our words are true
and tenable.

That we understand
the meaning of “sii,”

the Ohlone word for water,
which is you.

The Ohlone knew this.
They were first of this county,

borne of seawater and
woven reeds to salt

marshes and pickleweeds
and saltwater silvered

by smelt.
They fared

on abalone
and blue elderberry.

Western chokecherry.

All flourishing, grace-filled,

If I were a weaver,

I would gift you
a basket made of sandbar

willow and tule,
bright as cinnabar.

But I can only write
this poem,

a tributary,
to carry

the weight of water
as it flows and hefts

the meaning of you.
Giver and taker.

And everything that I knew.

*Information about Aileen’s poetry collections/chapbooks here and here.