On Here


Here there are black-eyed susans that grow clinging to the cliff. Here there is crumbling sandstone and quartz crystal that glitters in the afternoon. There is overgrown sea grass and a hammer in this distance. Everything smells of salt and stays damp and my hair will have to be pinned back all of the time.

Here there is so much more ocean and the sounds it makes are something I will begin to learn. Here it feels like an ocean and no longer like a sea. The horizon stretches for a lifetime. It is not all mine. Here there is a hawk in the palm across the cove. Here there are birds that sing and waves that roll. It feels as if I am the last person, and as if something in me asked long ago to be the one that sits at the very edge and looks off into the big distance.

Here there is jasmine that grows along the walkway and outside of our bedroom. I am struck when moving in that the smell tethers me back to a different time, a time when perhaps I knew I would be here, but I didn’t know how to look at it nor ask for it. One year ago I was writing from Vermont, and I was sitting on that river. A year can fold itself in half like a piece of paper, two moments happening exactly at once.

I wonder if back then the smell of Jasmine was not reaching back to something I remembered, but rather reaching forward, and tethering me to a memory I did not yet have. To a time I did not yet know.

Here I walk barefoot on cold floors and drink tea in bed and count birds that go by. There is a clear sense here that this is where we were always going.

Here, there is a single white sailboat on the horizon and the sky is a deep grey and the ocean a mirror blue.


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