DELTA 13: AS WE WALKED THE SAND ENDING IN THE SAN FRANCISCO CLIFF SIDES

David Koehn’s first full-length manuscript, Twine, now available from Bauhan Publishing, won the 2013 May Sarton Poetry Prize. David just released Compendium (Omnidawn Publishing 2017), a collection of Donald Justice’s take on prosody. David’s second full-length collection, Scatterplot, is due out from Omnidawn Publishing in 2020.


DELTA 13: AS WE WALKED THE SAND ENDING IN THE SAN FRANCISCO CLIFF SIDES

If you are not in a hurry I will make a pot of coffee too.
The riptides pull at the coast speaking in the tongues
Oceans speak. The gulls rip their way through the lift
And account for the folk sitting inside their Toyotas,
V.W.s, Chevrolets, in the lot at the corner of x & y
—looking over us to what the sun might do, hoping it will do
What it has done for generations before us. Dampened
Air from a distance weathers the storm, and my son’s face
Squints into the fogginess. The folks
In stasis behind tinted windshields watch the ocean looking
For something unknowable. The blue suit jacket
With the teal and persimmon tree print hangs on a rod in a walk-in
Closet. What else hangs there? A year from now Trump
Will be president, I will not have foreseen it. “Look at these sand dollars,”
Says Bay, “We are gonna be sand rich.” Between the parking
Lot and the shotgun homes, modernized
To some next world cleanliness, the telephone wires,
Swinging from poles off square from the seismically
Shifted street, contour the drawing of the eave of house and cypress.
A year from today I will take a Lyft so far from where I live
I can never return. At that point, my girlfriend will have been married
To her husband for 27 years. Near Altamont Pass an abandoned golf
Course goes to seed. What were the greens are now rounded patches
Of golden Monkey Flower, as if they were the circular footprint
Of the nearby windmills telling and retelling their alien riddles.
Stephen Colbert’s right ear rests two inches higher on the right side
Of his head than on the left. This is a beautiful thing.
If someone tells you they love you, at what moment do the words
Stop holding their meaning?
When the boxes in the garage remain unpacked a decade later?
When you have lived together since before Obama
But the lease is in your name? Notice
Not a single picture of you and her on the wall,
On any shelf, not pinned to the fridge, not in a purse
Or wallet, just a child. Not just. A child.
The orange tent with the red-brown flaps anchored to the moonscape
Hosts a small fire, we count seven logs engulfed in flame.
Where wet sand shifts to ebb’s gray-green
And slides into the next wave’s moon, a woman in a red sweater
Pulled up to her elbows, and too short canvas shorts, walks
An Australian Shepherd toward a surfboard nosing a surfer
Into the set. I often think of addiction, I think of canvas throw pillows
And children yelping at unpinned donkeys
Just beyond the red fence’s belief about neighbors and criminals.
While looking through the fist on your left hand with your right eye open
And left eye closed, pinch the thumb on the left hand
With your thumb and forefinger in your right and pull them apart, run in place.
“What I have to tell you cannot wait” is my favorite line
From Season 5 of Ray Donovan. I occasionally stutter now. No ceviche
Better than “butterfish. Tamarind peanut marinade. Cucumber.
Lotus chips. Sambal aioli. Soy.” The aroma of a fresh pot of coffee
Threatens the air with the opposite of the beginning
Of clay in the root of petrichor. The latest feed? “Celebrities
That look like their pets.” In the wash, a Dungeness crab, ruby and pocked
With what must be certainty, moves away from me as I close
In. I see the scarab sinking into the tide pool, deep enough to eye me
To remain beyond my reach.
I wire money everywhere. Let’s buy an apartment in your Toronto.

[image: Baker Beach Sunset | Chris D'Ardenne]

 

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