« Melissa Broder | Contents | Adam Deutsch »

Tamiko Beyer

Water West



I’m wild all the way up the craggy Cascades, feral girl in a dented station wagon chugging over Highway 20. The pass twists, stone face rises, pines spear the glint sky. I’m looking for the dam and its lake – there, there – round the bend: pure turquoise squared off and deep as the sky’s deep. Devil blue water I want to dip my blister body into, my ragged skin into your perfect wet. Your cool, captured absence – no mud, no algae, all angled. How does water do that? I stop for gas and think what it’d be like to live in this little grid town built by the electric company along with the turbines and power lines, a life accompanied by electromagnetic spin. Every day clock in and run lights down the mountain to the city, clock out and watch the stars come out in the thin night sky.

concrete slab, you dam,

I charge the water-rush, arc    

ions lusting loose




Lake Merritt


Night in Oakland and a dim suggestion of stars. Lake Merritt’s strung necklace – lights arc from post to post. A snowy egret spume-fishes at the flood control gates where lake roils through in search of bay. Uplit, the bird’s feathers greedy for glow, its neck an elegant S. Needle-beak into soup. Plankton, an animosity of wriggling fish. Molecular history: once estuary, once Ohlone hunting ground, once sewer full of ammonia runoff from gold-boomtown.

we do alter, we

do deny, we do wait too

until we wake late




SF Fog


When water splits land we want a crossing. All the ways we lose ourselves. Red-orange bridge, a constant span, the arc’s cut under morning sun. Then dimmed in the fog rolling up thick from the Pacific. Wind. Cold particles cling to skin, enter lungs – water breaching air, no use for solid shore. Roll into the city, wet the rainbow flag flapping over Castro – if I wanted to find home, I start here. But never easy – the white bank rests against Mt. Sutro’s flank, and there’s sunshine to the east. Whales have been known to enter the bay, and mostly they find their way out.

I refuse to shore

one part this and one part that –

water never mine

« Melissa Broder | Contents | Adam Deutsch »