it’s winter in san diego
the sound of your feet on wooden planks
down to the water
white skies, white waves
there’s a woman swimming naked
in the cold, her child at her side
doesn’t seem to mind.
Last night I held your hand
under the table, your sister sat across from us
her baby didn’t like me, you laughed
gave a squeeze, I held on tight
I love the beach in winter. It’s nice to share the ocean
with the dogs in the water, lolled heads of seaweed
hissing onto the shore – but it’s also nice
to have the ocean alone.
Ladling soup last night (pot gleaming, steam, an orange bowl)
– I finally let myself cry
next to me in the kitchen, your father drank undisturbed
you kissed me in the hallway
I’m afraid of him, you told me once
I pressed my head into your chest
it was goodbye, you didn’t know, gripped my wrist
just to let it go.
here in San Diego
you can’t tell the homeless and the surfers apart
deeply tan, sunbleached hair
tears in their clothes
I guess we all search for something, on whatever side
–so the dark men build houses on the water
chucks of white marble in their hands
glimpse the sunset, leave them for someone else
and the blond boys go on dreaming
of Hawaii, of better, bluer water
I stand on boulders, strangely curved, remember currents
and wind, too. I sit,
quiet with the birds. Horizon, an endless line, presses
down on all this blue.
and the woman
slips in, a silver coin necklace
flashing on her chest,
brightest thing in the waves.