Landscape of Meadow with Blue Sky and Red Sun, Nicholas Abanavos

Jonathan Yungkans
Woolly Blue Curls
(Trichostema lanatum)

I feel less time’s fool watching
as I wander a dry hillside not
far from shore      hint of salt in
sticky air      the ocean defying

gravity to brood along slopes
not native to you      running
fingers barely thicker than air
through all the flora it can as

though itself to remember in
some tactile way and with tears
already forming all to which it
might not return      including

this shrub that could be us both
staying alive in the depths of a
quiet prayer      narrow-leaved
at a bittersweet green-and-white

peace      its thin-wire stems
almost garish in florescent hue
forced into light that would
blind a sun and a taste in its

veins of what the Spanish call
romero      life-bitter      common
as salt and time      defiant despite
no water     long violet blooms

which corkscrew offering cedar
and lavender      floral magi
offering gifts as they maintain
a complex illusion in a simple

truth      teasing a heightened
hope or despair on lighted skin
till I can taste your absence
feel the interloping waves yet

rooted separate      desperate
as we turn in wind for release
we bloom and reach in fog for
what might suffice for a touch

Jonathan Yungkans is a Los-Angeles-based poet, writer, and photographer. Growing up in Gardena, California, not far from the Pacific Ocean, and at the time still predominantly Japanese-American, left him with three things—an intense love for the sea, a deep appreciation for cultures other than his own, and the outlook (and resulting questions) of an outsider aware that he didn’t quite fit into his surroundings. Subsequent years as an ESL teacher and a publications editor for a multi-cultural Christian ministry only added to the latter two of these. His works have appeared in Poet Lore, Poetry/LA, Twisted Vine Literary Journal, and other publications.

Nicholas Abanavas received his M.Ed. in Teaching At-Risk Students in 2008. He recently retired from a career in public education. He has written two books: Scissors, Cardboard & Paint: The Art of At-Risk Teaching and Lemnos: An Artist and His Island. Mr. Abanavas is an avid fan of jazz music.