by Marc Malandra


Land’s end—

gulls on an updraft, trawlers

setting out to gather shrimp—

I had something to say.

Jade sea unsaid it.


A stinkbug labors over a leaf.

Seals bake, far, furred sausages on the rocks.

An otter daydreams on a bed of kelp.

A raven’s shrill reveille, gull cries, rushing

tides sighing and crumpling over seaweed;

one last afternoon educated at my leisure.


If I stay here to watch pines

twist into limbs, sap-strong

yet seeming-rotten, would I learn

language wind uses to entice

clouds into apparition?

If I strip fears like bark

from these trees will the exposed self

stand salt blasts and flood rains?

Am I less myself when divided

or more myself when less

the sum of my parts, some

of my parts tree-like, rock-

like, though less noble?


I’m looking at my cloud-self

as it passes over a pool,

over chance-grasping anemones.

I’m thinking about surfaces,

how far down I have to look.


A white dove arcs over the cove.

A raven scavenges among the rocks,

strutting bundle of tar with wings.

Shards of light, sand, and stone oscillate,

scenes from the life of saint

change, patron of tides. Wind

ripples the inlet into mosaic.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marc Malandra grew up primarily in Avalon, on Santa Catalina Island, California. He attended and has degrees from U. C. Santa Barbara, U. C. Davis, and Cornell University, where he received both an MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph. D. in English. Over the last twenty years, he has published poetry in approximately three dozen different venues, including America, Cider Press Review, Flyway, Literature and Belief, Orange Coast Review, Poetry Northwest, Radix, South Florida Poetry Review, and Zocalo. Currently Associate Professor of English and Director of the Writing Center at Biola University.

“Leaving Pacific Grove” and other poetry by Mark Mallandra will appear in the upcoming Silver Birch Press Green Anthology — a collection of poetry and prose from over 50 authors around the world — available March 15, 2013.

PHOTO: “Pacific Grove at Sunset” by Joshua Tobash, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED