Oxalis in the Ingleside
You can find the world’s second largest sundial
in the world’s foggiest place, the Ingleside Terrace
of San Francisco. Monterey cypress sprouts from
a garage that used to be a stable; these streets were
a racetrack once. Diebenkorn painted these wide
lawns and sidewalks. Walking the dog, I see oxalis,
its chartreuse Crayola now calls Laser Lemon.
The dog likes to chew it, as children do, for that
pucker that makes some call it sour grass. Although
in its native South Africa, guinea hens keep it
in check, here oxalis pes-caprae is a weed that
you can’t behead or pull; it spreads by bulblets.
Once, a man followed me here, offering a diamond pin.
I kept my pace, but he handed me a dime, drilled and pierced
with a diaper fastener. Most households manage to keep
oxalis down, though you can think it gone, and the day
after a February rain find your lawn given up to yellow,
the tendrils insinuating beneath the tidy grass.
Zucchini in August
When she was pregnant and drove a VW
shaped like a pear, it seemed pregnant Beetles
were everywhere. She moved upcountry when
just about everyone did. Call this zucchini in August.
There are way too many zucchini in August—
big as the Queen Mary and cradle-robbed specimens,
the size of your thumb. Just try and drop your crop
on your neighbor. No way, she says: Have some pears.
So it seems the whole world has your cancer—
your boss, your wife’s boss, the next-door neighbor
and his brother—and they all have it beat. Friend,
it’s zucchini in August. Take care. Have some pears.