Where is the Map?

Denise Calvetti Michaels


Where is the map I would turn to so that you could begin to understand the deeper reams of the farm originating in my childhood?  Should I begin with another bricolage of recall, or, perhaps, take a different tack, stand with the girl, within the framework of terroir, French for the concept that the very soil of a place affects the taste and development of all that grows upon it, especially pertaining to the grapes of a vineyard.  How best to describe Salinas terroir but record the word earth, black earth, tell how low-lying fog and shape-shifter oak become coyote and mustang, my brother standing in a field where the valley is grooved by tractor tines and rimmed by the distant hills that dishevel in waves of erosion, gullies the essence of coastal mountains, my brother leaning against the little hills, to hold them in place, what memory does to you, hold belief in a place.  It’s dusk. Dennis scoops up handfuls of dirt we toss high up in the air to touch the sun, to glitter the sky.

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