–for my mother
had left the party but the music was still throbbing
away from me
had my blouse half undone–
that’s the light
smelling of alcohol
dangerous with its promise of brilliant regret
heavily clothed into the water
for lifesaving practice
and the water
reflections subdividing like amoebas–
that’s the distance
my arm’s length
resonant with resistance
on Trinidad Head
alone on black wet rock
by the sudden
of ocean too close–
that’s the texture
where anything to grab onto
even if it tears your flesh like a cat’s claw
Fishing the Coast
The spatulate surf heaves
against the arc of rocks, exploding to opalescence.
Boulders the size of house trailers stack and sway
as the surf recedes,
pulls away, returns.
Four men cast about for meaning and find it
in remaining upright in the roar, in slipping
a silvery bite of food out sideways, in failing to see
the faces of loved ones in the clouds overhead
or the foam below.
They fish. They merely fish.
To catch is to eat is to live long enough
for their bones to barnacle up with salt,
their dreams to crab against what they know:
that you need strong arms,
good line, patience,
time, and sadness you swallow
like a shard of mirror,
hunger you feel like the pleats in a man’s pants
bravely failing to accomplish anything.
The men cast and wait, cast and wait.
Cast again and wait, not planning
to forgive anyone.