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California High
Patricia Wellingham-Jones


He visits his new mountain retreat

in the bright colors of mid autumn,

stays home while his young wife

goes shopping. Stretches

his city-pale body

in the hot tub overlooking the lake.

Sighs in bliss, scrunches down, lifts his wine.

The first rain drops ice on his face, his chest.

Like a jack-in-the-box he leaps high. Regards

his soaked body, shrugs, sinks back in the tub.

Moments later, snowflakes dot his hair,

melt on his outstretched tongue.

He slides deeper into warm water,

into a doze. Dream-fogged

eyes fly wide at a rustle by his ear,

alight on the muzzle of a black bear

sniffing close. Both parties blink.

One screams. The bear

ambles away.


This poem first appeared in Acorn (2002).
Used here with the author’s permission.



Patricia Wellingham-Jones is a former psychology researcher and writer/editor with an interest in healing writing, and the benefits of writing and reading work together. Widely published in poetry and nonfiction, she writes for the review department of Recovering the Self: A Journal of Hope and Healing and has published ten chapbooks of poetry. Patricia lives in Los Molinos, California.




Post New Comment:
David Alpaugh:
How lovingly, seductively the poet eases not just a "city-pale" husband but we her readers into that California High hot tub, until our minds & bodies are ripened on wine, scenery, and relaxation, and ready to be startled to the core.
Posted 10/18/2013 11:47 AM
Life has a way of inserting itself. Thanks for reminding us in this good poem.
Posted 10/18/2013 10:23 AM
The natural world, crashing in. Fun Poem.
Posted 10/18/2013 07:49 AM
Posted 10/18/2013 04:21 AM

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