What I know About Fresno

How the train tracks veer away from me
the tremendous bellies of the grain holders
and their side-wined staircase and how it
makes me believe magic exists, the dry

                 grass coming up
through the abandoned cement abandoned
always abandoned since before they were
ever there, the small yield. The majestic
symmetry of the crop row, the orange,
the alfalfa, the walnut, the corn, the grape

                 teaching the famers
minds and the workers hands how to handle
their laws and their skin, how to be so afraid
of their absence which is the same, as loves’
eyes closed. I know how the silt left
dry at the bottom of an irrigation ditch

                 keeps itself, lays down
low and huddles in. I know the water truck
the sun washed teal of the hammered metal
body. I know Levis heard birds and thought
about the spirit, the name of the knot inside
of each and every presence somehow strung

                 together like a single breath—
I know the oil trains going by like my own heart,
the ragged climbing and falling, stopping and
jerking, the graffiti a present from each little
gangbanger who doesn’t know they’re an artist
in my life. I know the single house built

                  like an oasis
in the middle of vines, the imported palm trees,
the long clean driveway like a road to somewhere
through nowhere. The power station of transformers,
the avenues, the graveled shoulder of the road,
the dairy cows and their short dirty lives already

                  behind them.
When my arms are open the dirt scuttles
beneath my nails like sea creatures. I know
somewhere beyond that row of Eucalyputus
resembles a river. I know the Trump signs
are the people I never saw living here and

                 the reason I stay
teaching myself, so I can come back to them
with a gift that bursts. I know the F150,
the chrome lights, the racing stripe, the rims
are the pride I feel when I say Fresno. I say
Fresno every day to keep mind clean,

                 my breath swept,
my sky cottoned my gravel loose my roads
veering my grass growing even when dying
or dead my rows straight my rows straight
my rows leading me forward, which is
sometimes the same thing as backwards,

                 which is sometimes
the same thing as pride, which is sometimes
the same thing as afraid. I know I will die here.
I know the chain link around the water pump,
the electrical poles like thousands of crosses

                 erected in my heart
and this valley is the dirt planting each of them.
I know the coyotes howl, the sunset call,
the horizon disappearing behind the line
showing me how to draw myself above it.

Sara Borjas is a Chicana from Fresno, California. She holds fellowships from CantoMundo, the Postgraduate Writers’ Conference at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. Her poetry can be found in The Offing, Entropy, and Queen Mob's Tea House, amongst others. She has been to college twice and adores tiny prints, astrophysics, oldiez, and aromatics. Her debut poetry collection, We Are Too Big for This House, is forthcoming from Noemi in 2019. She currently lives in Los Angeles but stays rooted in Fresno.