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Two sounds at night lull me to sleep.
Two sounds cause me to weep.
One is the blue waves lapping the shore,
The other, the train whistle howling deep.

I was born in the fruitful valley
Near the Pacific Ocean.
I was born a man’s third son.
When I was seven, he moved us
To the Texas Panhandle
On the Santa Fe Chief.
My sea-level boyhood was done.

I was an Italian Catholic in a
Protestant diaspora,
Horizon to horizon of tall wheat
And dryland flora.
No more giant redwoods,
Sweet and fruitful valley.
No more pounding waves and
Whistle pulsing my aorta.

But who are we to choose paradise?
Who are we to mourn what
Should suffice?
Still, two sounds at night lull me
To sleep.
To my sea-level boyhood they entice.

poem and photos by S.A. Bort / 16 May 2016

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