Avocado and melon salad

Carson Thomas

Perfume spheres of light green and orange,
butterfly-cut creamy lobes of avocado
made me want to cry
for California mountains,
fruit trucks laden with fresh melons
along twisting highways
cutting through rich farmland valleys,
patches of dry grass and gnarled trees.
Blue mountains hazy with mist and smog
over the ranch where my grandfather lived
where we cracked clay pigeons
with rifles,
a sound like terra cotta pots shattering.
God, some things are beautiful
and worth protecting.
I can almost understand
why he mistrusted liberals to his grave—
when I hit the target, his eyes sparkled,
it kept him alive all those years.
How could I love him
and mistrust him?
both at once like a Schrodinger’s cat—
a thought experiment I never understood,
like America.
I can love it, hate it,
remain baffled by it—
but when winds picked up
through California mountains
to spread my grandfather’s ashes
over his land,
I understood for a moment
America sang like Whitman to me.

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