The Photograph We Didn’t Take at Baker Beach

Come with me
     past the serpentine meadow, through the gate of sea pines
          hung with garlands of pinecones and crow song.

 Blackberry brambles finish fruiting.
     What has not been harvested dries on the branch.
          Wild grasses susurrate in the rising wind.

 A prairie hawk sits on the path by the bunkers.
     Fog folds over the mouth of the Bay.
          The old fortifications stand blind:

 Gun turrets gutted, sweet fennel in the emplacements.
     Rusting iron rings stain lines down cement.
          With each season’s rains soft roofs sag and cave.

 The moment we break through the brambles
     breakers foam at the jaw of the rocks.

Don’t look at me; see with my eyes:
     a laden barge passing the edge of sight,
          a double sunset in horizon fog.

Ten years ago a headless seal
     beached on the sand—
          I wish now I had posed
               holding hands with your other girl over the corpse
                    as you asked.

First published in Residual Heat under my pseudonym Aga Black.