yakima hops

9.22.11 - Yakima Hops

Outlaw for the last time,
on your streets.
To remain on paper,
but not seen,
for seven years.
I will miss your hop smells
driving down Lincoln Avenue.
The way your Sun hits my sleeping body
in the morning
and I roll over three times
every half hour
to escape you.
There are the apple trees,
frozen angels,
man-made rainbows,
when the frost comes.
There are the brushes of fingers together,
the twisting and locking,
losing hold of time.
When they ask me,
you were always my city.
The tears I choked on
and the undoings.
You were the God-songs I sung,
through barely believing lips
and the thunder sounds of love,
when it was walking in opposite directions.
I am not afraid anymore,
darling.
The sage brush said this day would come,
as did the Grasshopper King,
when my mouth cupped MD 20/20,
that shirtless day on the mountain
when I had lost everything.
Now,
for the last of last times,
I will whisper goodbye.
On quiet nights,
on the road though,
you may hear me singing
of the wine in my belly
and Yakima hops
that taught me to grow big and strong.
That showed me love
is layers of skin
unfolding.

In July of 1936, Arthur Rothstein took this photograph near Missoula, Montana. He included the following:

“Vernon Evans (with his family) of Lemmon, South Dakota. Leaving grasshopper-ridden and drought-stricken area for a new start in Oregon or Washington. Expects to arrive at Yakima in time for hop picking. Live in tent. Makes about two hundred miles a day in Model T Ford.”