I’ll always be where rainbows are,
forever in the Maine-bright stars,
when sunsets light the eveningtide,
with the moon in sparkling skies,
with the rising sun each morning,
with the quiet of dawn by the sea,
along the beloved rocks of the Point,
you will always be there with me…
— Alma “Honey” Nahigian
The coast tips into itself
and becomes the horizon. It’s almost miraculous
how little of it I could ever describe. The waves
breaking white and white against the castle rocks
and barnacles—life exists
on every holy side. A cricket
from a side I cannot see. My grandmother
sitting right here, on the same
crumbling wall, or next to me, on another
side of things I cannot see. From her precious
letters, written for the saving
some thirty years ago, I watch the sunset
with her, or alongside her. For a century,
my ancestors have been watching the same
small scan of horizon, Boon Island winking
from so far away. Almost a miracle
it sits so perfectly on the edge.
My friends and someone I love
are even so much farther. I would have broke mine eye-strings—
against the ocean, everything in the universe
is the same color. The beach moves
as its thousands of tiny wolf spiders, who,
in their camouflaged grey-brown scurrying, seem
themselves to be the very shore shivering
in the dusky cold, as in, from Plato,
λύκον ἰδεῖν, to see a wolf, as
in, to be struck dumb, a kind of awe
reserved for the wild. The rocky coast itself
alive. Imagine that. It is so precious.
And someday, I’m afraid
it won’t exist. In writing, we can say things
after we die. Isn’t that just amazing. To exist forever
in the Maine-bright stars. She could feel time slipping
when she wrote that, my mom says, who was my age
at the time, twenty-one, when Honey was hers.
Mothers and daughters just refrains of one another.
I need to have a daughter when I’m thirty
to continue the lineage.
I want to write a poem that predicts the future.
A line like that last one. Feeling her space and time
closing in, says my mom on the phone.
We’re not made to think of ourselves as temporary.
Behind me, the beach roses sway, but almost as if
they’re not. The old sky dims and the buoy bell sings
the tide, just as it’s always done, and
I can’t even describe the rocking stillness of it.