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The irrelevant will follow like urchins biting through sea stars when the tide withdraws

Once I went out so deep on the rocks a sneaker wave flipped me over

At the time I was staying with people I can barely remember

and I have no idea what became of any of them

This could be called interrupted narrative

That is a slight exaggeration

Only about half a foot of sea level rise in the last hundred years so

the tidepools will be moving on just like all the rest of us

My actual friend from those days is no longer a friend despite

the times we walked her dog and my baby around Lake Merritt

We couldn't stop to watch the pelicans (though I could describe them to you)

because a dog is a dog after all

She had to put that dog (or was it the next?) down after it bit a child,

not mine, Thank God

In any case, in terms of tidepools, while the kelp sways

and the crabs are in constant motion, you stop

That dog would be dead no matter what now, and that child is in her own apartment –

the friend, I don't really know though I ran into her sister in front of the pet food store

How many of them, friends of the moment in that house by the sea

that weekend are here by which I mean breathing

It takes me two sticks to get down near the tidepools which

is not the kind of detail you are supposed to admit to in a poem

the way the naked body of a lover does belong in the poem's center

no matter how you measure the tides or the heat or the rising waters


Carol Dorf's poetry appears in "Shofar," "Bodega," "E-ratio," "Great Weather For Media," "About Place," "Glint," "Slipstream," "The Mom Egg," "Sin Fronteras," "Surreal Poetics," "The Journal of Humanistic Mathematics," "Scientific American," and "Maintenant." She is founding poetry editor of Talking Writing and teaches math in Berkeley. She is interested in the intersections between poetry, disability, science and parenting.

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