The Scent of Almond Blossoms

— Leslie Hoffman

On early March mornings, as tule fog
begins to lift in California’s Central Valley,
winter’s skeletons transform into trees
and a blush of almond blossoms
carpet orchard floors.

Most every morning, I’d walk through
the dappled light of the alabaster canopy
until I reached the canal, where I’d sit,
adjust my headphones, and lean back
against the scaly bark of my familiar tree

Getting high on the scent of almond blossoms,
nature’s perfume, while Miles’ sweet-cream
trumpet played Gershwin’s “Summertime”
when the livin’ was easy
when the trees were still young

Before the scent of burnt almond
permeated the autumn sky—
before the Valley nodded off
for another winter, when the trees—
and I—were still young.

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