California Love Poem

Armine Iknadossian

The sun has an orgasm across the valley
as Pasadena opens up in front of me,
the Suicide Bridge pushing an arm out
of green sleeves, orange blossoms keening
after a mid-spring heatwave,
the Rose Bowl yawning in a ravine.

It is not enough to love the one you love,
to drive toward the ocean just to fall
into bed with them, then return home
alone, drowsy from no sleep and sex in a strange bed.
You want to keep driving East toward
black rocks and tarantulas of Nevada

or South toward the unilateral mirage of water
where the Salton Sea groans in her deadwood hammock.
On a map, California looks like she’s hugging the continent
and Nevada is leaning in for a deep kiss.
She is tentative, he is a sharp-tongued,
diamond-studded menace, kissing her
and at the same time, pushing her into the ocean.

ARMINE IKNADOSSIAN was born in Beirut, Lebanon and moved to Southern California when she was four years old. A resident of Pasadena, she received her undergraduate degree with an emphasis in creative writing from UCLA and earned a graduate degree in poetry from Antioch University. She teaches English, journalism, and poetry recitation and has received two fellowships from Idyllwild Arts. Publications include Alabama Literary Review, Backwards City Review, Margie, Pearl and Rhino. Her poetry manuscript Dogmata challenges the sacred feminine through persona poems and revisions of Biblical and Agnostic mythology.

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