Our last good morning we walked to the fence
where the rides sat hulking like sad imaginations
in the sun, embarrassed and shining,
missing some purer sound.
And the off-season fishermen stood around bow-legged,
testing the Tilt-a-Whirl, Gravitron, briefly
adjusting the gears, replacing the dead bulbs,
sipping from plastic bottles
of Canadian Windsor. You kept your distance.
Jumping the tide pools at Post Point, pulling it off
with your horse-like gait. Ironic in most ways,
wheeling around from behind me,
staring across the bay, saying,
The day is like wide water, without sound,
as if you were stealing the scene from a movie.
Beyond us, the blues of the vanishing islands,
the desiccated fountains, depending on the light.
How so much depended on the angle of light—
the cool clip in the air that night,
the larch trees turning, beginning to bring
the fall. The hands of another man—tattooed,
a stranger—arranging your hips at the edge
of my absences. Rides on the midway, spinning
in concert. The last night any of it mattered. Trying to see
through it. Beyond it. To some other ending.
The flavor of gin, the pulse in your hand
wrapped tightly around my wrist. Trying to push out
whatever belief we had in that beauty.
The morning stars. The blue irreducible sea.
Kai Carlson-Wee has rollerbladed professionally, surfed north of the Arctic Circle, and traveled across the country by freight train. His work has appeared in Narrative Magazine, Best New Poets, TriQuarterly, and The Missouri Review, which selected a group of his poems for the 2013 Jeffery E. Smith Editor's Prize. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow, he lives in San Francisco, and is a Jones Lecturer in poetry at Stanford University. (www.kaicarlsonwee.com)