Opposite the Los Altos park’s chain-link
Sarah sniffs and squats on wood chips.
In a makeshift lean-to of leafless trees
Traces of human presence:
Cardboard, plastic bags, a shelter
Between the animals and the interstate.
Through the ball field fence the wind shudders
Flesh. We huddle in a paralytic half-moon,
Statues in grey dawn, dogs
Stunned inert. Bob tells us
A man died on the frozen diamond. He’ll
Go to the funeral. Did he, nameless, die of
Hypothermia, blood dropped to zero? Who
Slept in the tunnel under I-40
In December dark when
Even hounds lie abed? Dave says
Geneticists merged lagomorph DNA with jellyfish
To make a phosphorescent rabbit,
Each cell glowing greenly
In ultraviolet. Amid all this dark
Shine upon the unhoused.
Richard Oyama has a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. His work has appeared in literary magazines and small presses. The Country They Know is his first collection of poetry. He is currently working on his first novel, The Orphaned, and a second volume of poetry.