Natalie Marino

California Stars

My daughters carry sage in their hands
when the dawn is a field of peacocks.

My daughters tie blue-eyed grass in their hair
when Marina del Rey is a picnic of poppies.

My daughters bring Catalina Island Buffalo
in their pockets when Coyote Creek is full

with spring.

My daughters hide prickly pears
in their clavicles when Laguna Lake

wears the surrounding desert like a shawl.

My daughters speak in the language of sunflowers
when Box Canyon closes its coffin of secrets.

My daughters sing with mountain violet breath
when stars light up the sky behind a forest of angels.

Natalie Marino is a poet and physician. Her work appears in Atlas and Alice, Gigantic Sequins, Isele Magazine, Plainsongs, Pleiades, Rust + Moth, The Shore, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, Under Memories of Stars, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press (June 2023). She lives in California. This poem’s title is taken from the title of a song written by Woody Guthrie.