First-night-in-a-new-town excitement
Like the excitement of God, satisfying his curiosity
About each human situation
Warning of Glory, the sea rises, darkens, crashes
and defies you to find what part ever rose
So God works out His curiosity on the sand

I’ve been out bobbing with the surfers,
watching the white whiskers of the waves tumble down
until I thought of little except waves
For the first time, days passed without a thought for the dead friend
So he visited while I slept,
On a sidewalk on upper Broadway,
He came up the street, his shoulders back and his chin cocked in expectation
He said we were on the border of the Bronx and Queens
I said the two were separated by water
And he shrugged like when I asked him what death was like
We embraced and I asked him to visit again, if only in dreams

Meetings with dead friends are hard not to squander
I don’t know where he is or if he is
Except in dreams I can’t remember, thoughts I almost think
There, he is grown to chastise and protect me
He too rose up like a wave
Towered, trembled and crashed
And no one can properly find the part it was that rose

We sifted the stars from the lighthouses and the planets from the fishing boats,
until the quarter-moon burst from the ocean like an orange knife
In Montauk, the roads grow quiet not long after dark
The sound of the ocean towers over the houses

At the picnic table with sandwich and soda, the flies approach one at a time
“Remember me,” they plead
“My life is a short, mute meander over mundane distances.
Please don’t let it be in vain. Tell them of me.
By the way, are you eating that?”
I nod and brush them away with the back of my freckled hand

By the lighthouse, a mother leans over,
the scar from her tattoo removal visible at the base of her spine
A father bemoans what’s become of his father’s house
Seagulls and cormorants dive at the surf
and an Irish girl serves french fries,
everyone is making a living

“I can’t get in,” the swimmer said
just past the steep breakers, holding back panic.
“If you get in, tell the lifeguards.”
The ocean rose again, vast, surrounding all we would ever know
and we dove into the wave, emerging farther out
The lifeguards sat on high wooden chairs
There was no way to tell if they were watching
I bobbed, dove and waited for the wave that would take me in

The brambles and swampgrass eat the old fort
like it does the fallen gull and the fallen branch
Maybe it’s hunger and maybe it’s forgiveness,
like the artillery that fell on the just and the unjust alike
I walk past preoccupied surf-casters, my shirt soaked in sunblock and sweat,
Excited like a wave leaving the undifferentiated ocean
toward what it must sense is a great event
Full of the peculiar, world-renewing horniness
that marks God’s own curiosity nearing satisfaction

Tears seemed near all afternoon
I found an empty patch of sand facing Connecticut
I closed my eyes and ignored even the waves,
seeking an honest blankness in which to welcome what comes next

The ocean and the dark make up most of the world
Whatever does come, I won’t see it coming
I don’t know what I’ll adore and what I’ll regret
The future lay foretold in the torn clouds at dusk
migrating across the ragged fish corpse of Long Island,
where we have made our latest stand—a long weekend—
among the lapping waves,
among swampgrass and the mosquitoes
that buzz like forgetfulness made flesh
Silence flees before me like a unicorn
The waves pound and I want an alibi

Stars shot, moths trespassed the driveway light
I smacked a smoke alarm with my shoe
It was an ordinary minute
The event of you, chased and cheered by your entire life,
collides with me, piled and plied by my hundred histories
That wave trembles, rises


Colin Dodds grew up in Massachusetts and completed his education at The New School in New York City. Norman Mailer wrote that Dodds’ novel The Last Bad Jobshowed “something that very few writers have; a species of inner talent that owes very little to other people.” Dodds’ novels What Smiled at Him and Another Broken Wizardhave been widely acclaimed by critics and readers alike. His screenplay, Refreshment – A Tragedy, was named a semi-finalist in 2010 American Zoetrope Contest. Two books of Dodds’ poetry—The Last Man on the Moon and The Blue Blueprint—are available from Medium Rare Publishing. Dodds’ writing has also appeared in a number of periodicals, including The Wall Street Journal OnlineFolioExplosion-ProofBlock MagazineThe Architect’s NewspaperThe Main Street RagThe Reno News & Reviewand Lungfull! Magazine. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife Samantha.

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