by Greg Gregory

She curls in loose clothes on a soft couch
in this coast cottage, reading aloud in the afternoon light.
The sounds of the sea lull through the open window.
She tilts her head as her glasses reflect the ocean's light.

Houses on sea cliffs pull us to them—a solitude, a stillness.
Abyss and promise roll in like waves or pages turned in a book.
The sea and stories are endless.

This morning we did the crosswords
over sunflower bread, peach jam, and our morning pills.
Sweater-bundled, sipping our coffee in the early chill,
the words seemed all new.

Later, I sit and listen to her read.
Her hands turn the pages. The sun circles into the sea.
Sentence follows sentence like tracks in the sand.

The pages keep turning from right to left,
more that we can read by fading afternoon light.
There are always more stories, more tracks on the beach,
more waves, too many to follow before the light disappears.

After so many pass, years lose ceremony, importance.
Our stories are the important things. We read to each other.
The water and sea stay. The waves pass through.

Originally published in California Quarterly.  

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