Sheltering in Santa Barbara

By David Starkey

               —April 2020

A sprinkling of sour grass
along the green hillsides,
the red-hot pokers flowering again—
yellow bursting into flame.

My daughter, home from college
in New York, types gamely
on her laptop: freshman year
could have been much worse.

My wife passes the time
strumming her guitar,
while out back I watch
the turkey vultures circle.

When the wind blows
hot in the late afternoon,
they whip against the blue sky
like a scatter of burnt embers.

David Starkey served as Santa Barbara’s 2009-2011 Poet Laureate and is Director of the Creative Writing Program at Santa Barbara City College. He is Co-editor and Publisher of Gunpowder Press, as well as the author of eight full-length poetry collections. Also by this poet: "I Imagine My Great-Great Grandfather on the Illinois and Michigan Canal"  and "The Secret of Longevity".