California

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The postcard of California

is from his son in L.A.

He reads aloud every word on the map.

“Santa Rosa—I lived there.

Eureka—my family came from Eureka.

Then we moved to San Francisco.

I think I lived in Santa Barbara once.

Have you ever been to California?”

he asks me,

showing that another piece of memory

has broken away,

gone sailing off

into the dark ocean of oblivion.

“I grew up there,” I answer.

“What part?”

He used to know this.

He used to say he was from the north

and I was from L.A.

and we had to get special dispensation

to marry.

He used to—

But now he rereads the postcard.

“Have you ever been to California?”

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