Photo by Christopher Raley

Sausalito

One day I’ll approach it
from a different angle,
as from the city.
Clear skies of sudden uplift
after hunkering storm will
open the bay to blue such as
only California knows,
and white sails will glide
lightly tossed and triangulated
amid Alcatraz, Angel Island
and Sausalito. I’ll check my course
by the bastions of isolation
and disembark on
the northern peninsula
just down from the little cafe
where we breakfasted that day
and watched tourist couples
stride passed, fit and young,
for shops priced beyond
their double income.
This is where they landed
and this is what they decided:
jobs in the city
and a short, eventual flight north
to the final resting place
of affluence.
May they find peace.
As for me, sooner or later I will turn
upon the steep alley’s mouth
and climb faulted stairs to the old church
where we attended his funeral,
and even farther, to wander labyrinthine streets
by homes hidden, wooded, and
clinging to hillside, or else I’ll . . . what?
The boat has departed
and already my feet are plodding.
Perhaps I’ll find Ariadne’s string
leading through strange intersections
to the final stretch of Highway 101,
or perhaps just the rotted threads
of a thousand doomed heroes
who returned to the waterfront
to await their one and actual purpose.
Either way I will undoubtedly regret
that coming here was entirely optional.

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