Register Wednesday | June 12 | 2024


New poem by Suzannah Showler.

Official advice: do not touch
the water. Here’s the berm,

and here’s you. That hungry,
broken line of overreach

is a phantom wave. If you
play tag with the ocean,

you will lose. We are
the sort to heed warnings:

from the safety zone we watch
the water stage small

uprisings, heaving gestures
of ocean that eat their own

advance. We kill days keeping
an eye on progress. Then drive,

slalom the highway doodled
in the margin of panoramas

one-upping each other the long
way down the coast. I daydream

your death, see how far
I can tether from the wheel,

letting the absence at the end
of our contract loom. I have

such sick driving skills. We are
committed. No biggie if you fall

asleep, we’ll still find our way
back to the view, front-row seats

furrowed into the shelled-out
length of beach. One night,

we stay so long the light leaves
us alone with the ocean making big

plans it reneges on, taking whole
generations of wannabe sand down

with it. The fog tapers in, and out
of the dark, that fragile upright

shadow, human and wavering,
flowing to the water. You’re it.