Last evening we were upstairs when we saw a couple sitting at our beach fire. (It was dying but we were keeping an eye on it, and suddenly it was back in flames.) We joined them on the sand and shared a lovely time. They were astounded by the fireworks—in Colorado, it would never be allowed. Several times they expressed amazement at how uncrowded the beach was, while we were alarmed because there was such a mass of beach fires and people. This morning, it is clear most took away their things, leaving the beach bare again. There will be firework litter, but there is always firework litter.
It was pleasant having people to talk to yesterday. Sometimes I think we are too isolated. We often go days without a lengthy face-to-face conversation with anyone but one another. (And I will always miss teaching.)
Jessica and Craig told us how they met, how they came to live in Denver. Craig talked about a poet-friend, so I went looking later and found his friend’s poetry. Here is one from Young Ravens Literary Review. I post it here without permission.
by Matthew Burns
The Sharp Air
The river I don’t know
rumples over its rocks
and carries anything
that falls in—silt and brush,
a tumbleweed blown
from ten miles away.
The river, clear and silent.
When I crouch at its trembling lip
or pitch the rare flat stone across its skin,
I am looking for something
to carry me, not away but up.
Like the chickadee’s call to its mate
that goes bay-bee and bay-bee
until she calls back with same
and they go on beside the river
so the water carries this, too, away;
so that it unwinds and eddies,
like the silt of missing,
into the air; the sharp air,
carrying everything it can hold.
Matthew Burns teaches writing and literature in upstate New York and is currently a poetry editor at Heron Tree. His poem “Rhubarb” won a James Hearst Poetry Prize from North American Review; other poems have received Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations and have appeared or are forthcoming in Posit, ellipsis…, The Raleigh Review, Camas, Spoon River Poetry Review, anderbo, Quiddity, Heron Tree, LimeHawk, and others.
It was an astonishing point of connection in retrospect. I had a poem in North American Review a few years ago. Look up “Rhubarb.” Brilliant. Though I pull the stalks and never cut them.