This poem first appeared in the Winter 1993 issue of The Antioch Review.

by Marlon Fick

We reach for the smallest things first:
a wing bone from a sea gull, pieces
of kelp that break apart easily.
We hardly notice the afternoon
spreading itself too thinly across the Sound,
making the bright bones dark,
like the dark bones in each finger
of each hand.
I’ve been up late
listening to the steady notes of a ferry
sound and release. It holds on
for a moment and releases, like
your love for me.
I’m standing on the shore, wanting
to see between notes.
You never made me restless.
Perhaps the waves, close and away, remain.
Perhaps, I’m learning that the shore
is never right
and so is always shifting.
And promises are all washed up.


Marlon (1)Marlon L. Fick is the recipient for the NEA in Poetry (2005) as well as the equivalent award from the government of Mexico, the ConaCulta. He is the author of five books: El nino de Safo (poetry in Spanish), Histerias Minimas (short stories), Selected Poems, The River is Wide (Edition and Translation of 20 Mexican Poets), and, most recently, a novel, The Nowhere Man (from Jaded Ibis Press in November, 2015). Fick also shares the “Best American Translator” award with Robert Bly. After nearly three decades living abroad–in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East–he and his wife returned last year and now live in Arizona.

© The Antioch Review 2015