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 AmericaCider Press ReviewFlywayLiterature and BeliefOrange Coast ReviewPoetry NorthwestRadix,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 appears in the  Silver Birch Press Green Anthology — a collection of poetry and prose from over 70 authors around the world — available at

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