ODE TO HELLA by Ellie Lopez

When the Bay calls me home,
I watch hella roll off my tongue
like a Bay Area baptism.
An extraterrestrial vocabulary,
that when people ask where I am from,
I am home,
no ruby slippers needed.
Taking me back to 2003
And So Cal Dougie couldn’t wrap his mind

around a word between really and a lot of
and saved my name
on his phone like “hella ellie”
Because i was a place between
heaven and hell,
and whole lot of something
A feeling bigger than life
And not the palm trees,
dodger blue snapbacks,
California dreaming sun that people used too.
I am the slate gray fog—rolling through the hills,
the Bay bridge effervescent glow. 

When the Bay calls me home,
I am the smoke clouds on the 580 W,
–loud bass, Mac Dre doo doo dumb beats,
With a head nod to the car over.

Ellie Lopez (she/her) is a Latinx storyteller/photographer from the 209. She has published work in Dryland, Resurrection Mag, etc. When she’s not hunting for the best chismes you can find her on the socials IG & Twitter: missellielopez. She is currently working on her poetry collection.

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