by Chris Davidson

I was in Pismo Beach with my wife

and her mother Phyllis, and her husband Greg,

and we stayed in a hotel room on the second-floor,

with two queen-sized beds,

and Greg stood by the open door of the room,

smoking, looking out at the ocean, where he saw,

under thick white clouds lumbering cross the sky

like whales, whales—first time he’d seen them

in the wild, he said. And the smoke lifted

from his cigarette, and the mist from the whales

lifted as if in reply, and all of this

I don’t remember, none of it, not the trip

to Pismo Beach, not the whales,

but Phyllis does, for she talked about it

here when she came to visit last week .

My wife barely recalls it, sort of is

the phrase she uses. All was recounted

as we walked on a pier at a different beach—

myself, my wife, and Phyllis, who pushed

her grandchildren in the stroller, the sound

of water below bringing up the hotel, the smoke,

the whales and waves, whatever else.

I Was in Pismo Beach” and other poetry by Chris Davidson will appear in the Silver Birch Press Green Anthology, a collection of poetry and prose from over 50 authors in the U.S., U.K., Europe, and Africa — available March 15, 2013.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Chris Davidson’s writing has appeared in Zyzzyva, Alaska Quarterly Review, Burnside Review, Zocalo Public Square, The Rumpus, Jacket2, and elsewhere. He teaches at Biola University and lives in Seal Beach, California, with his wife and sons.

Photo: “Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo County” (Courtesy of San Luis Obispo County website)

Learn more about California’s winter whale watching season here.