Mark McKain 


We crossed the plowed field, 
climbed down into a canyon filled 
with the stench of rotting sea lion. 
White bones pierced the brown hide. 

We leaned into the cold spring wind 
coming down from the Bering Sea 
and wandered into the dunes. 
You asked me to protect you against 
tattooed men lying naked in a driftwood corral. 

On smooth white rocks like bath tiles 
that turned black and barnacled 
as they collided with the spitting surf, 
we ate linguini with our fingers 
from a chinese to-go carton. 

You whispered that my mind was a mass 
of ebony clams, your heart an orange starfish 
hanging below the mussel bed waiting 
for the next tide to move into the city of shells. 
My turquoise anemone, closed at your touch. 
Your purple-spined sea urchin, shivered. 

We walked the ruts of the artichoke field, 
gathered driftwood for a fire. 
You wanted the moon to peel away leaves 
and strip the choke from the heart. 

Copyright 2000, Mark McKain 

Mark McKain's work has appeared in Press, Atlanta Review, Pearl, Spillway, Spoken War, Zero City and elsewhere. He writes for television and children's books. 

Switched-on Gutenberg/Vol. 4, No. 2 
Contents Next