In San Diego, they built houses along the canyon ridge.
The streets splayed between deep ravines.
On the next block over, there is a park
where my children played on swings and slides.
A path behind it took me into the chapparal
of thorny shrubs and heather.  

There, castaways pitch tents under scrub oak,
plucking thorns from beaver tail cactus.
Napoli and prickly pears taste green
without water to rinse the slime.  

Wandering the streets above,
along the edges, it’s not hard to lose your way
circling again and again
until finally sleeping in between civilization.  

Flowers have thorns in the desert,
and canyons have dead ends.