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FACING EAST NEAR BIG SUR / David Groff The cliffs behind us and their great drop, The sky an even medicinal blue and, just below it, The noise of the largest ocean— I can tell by the twitch in your smile how edgy The edge makes you, here where all we can do is Admit how small we are in scale, admire The coast and maybe wade past it, Or sit in the rocky sand below the railroad That cuts this beach north-south, and finally Lean back and fall asleep in an outsized landscape Under a close sun. Maybe life in fact if not in deed Lasts longer here, thanks to the beauty That may in fact rub off on us, making the dull Progress of the body primary, the sun Another name for a kind of contentment; But instead of all that, I'm thinking, lover, of the waves Who swept across the continent to break And pool at the bottom of these bluffs, Their adrenelin still furious, but no new land out there. I'm thinking how, for now, we need to keep the ocean At our backs and revisit the china closets, the transcendental Writing desks abandoned on the frozen Handcart Trail, Back along the route they took before; and if the thrill Of unfamiliarity is gone from the Rockies and the corn Looks like corn, if we're part of the ebb, so be it, because We're grown-ups now, on personal land— Because I've seen your uncertain specific face Bit by soot and aged, it has the lovely feel of home. We choose a city we read in our own grained faces And find on the corner a hundred peddlers occupied— A life we inhabit like the fourteenth building on this site, 14 · The Missouri Review Its terraces more dangerous than cliffs. And always just beyond us, keeping us awake, Almost visible at the end Or the start of the line (depending on how we see) Is the smaller cool Atlantic, looking forward to us. David Groß The Missouri Review ¦ 15 ...


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pp. 14-15
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