[Poetry] Two poems by Chris A. Smith

Morning in Pacifica


Highway 1 ribbons down to the beach,

the fog hanging wraithlike from the hills,

a shroud upon the land.

We stand on the beach’s edge,

birds on a wire, toes in the scrub grass,

the salt air charged with anticipation.

Together, we watch the waves

dash themselves on this terminal shore.


The water is cold, 54 degrees,

waves roughed up by the wind,

wetsuit clammy but just warm enough

as I paddle out past the breakers.

Dark clouds a glimpse of the future,

but for now the sky is ghostly,

a cloud lattice cut by shafts of blue.

Seabirds ride the thermals,

white against the smudgy water,

the world, newly born,

the valley a jewel box,

lush with mist and tangled with green.


I look to my neighbors in the water

and imagine they feel it too,

this immanence,

this wonder,

of our presence right now, in this spot,

this reminder of our place in the cosmos,

that we are nothing more than visitors,

but that we are contained,

our lives buoyed by this roaring vastness.


The world was created from water,

and to water it always returns.

But after the deluge

we gather ourselves, and begin anew.

----


~*~


Turns of the Wheel


Be like water,

they say,

mutable,

adaptable

flowing with the tides.

But after so many turns of the wheel,

the joints can feel like

desert kindling,

a sack of rocks and roots

grinding in sand.

Even so,

the daily resurrection,

the stillness at dawn,

her light snore from the pillow beside me,

the fuzz behind the cat’s ear,

the breeze through the open window,

smelling of eucalyptus and sea salt,

the steeping coffee,

earthy and dark—

I tie myself to the mast and

go forth.

-----



Chris A. Smith is a writer in San Francisco. Though trained as a journalist--he's reported on topics ranging from African acid rock to killer asteroids to revolutionary movements--he also writes poetry and fiction. Find him at chrisasmith.net.