Leveler Poetry Journal
About Leveler Submission Guidelines More Poems

Big Sur


The sea is apathetic today.

The gulls are listless.


There is violence in the tides

and in the hot brittle shrubs.


I had my ideas about this place.

I pictured a great release.


But that isn’t how this works.

The wind has thousands of years


of erosion experience and I’ve

been here ten minutes.


These golden poppies birthed their first

bright buds centuries


before my family had a name,

before any sisters were lost,


before my brother tromped

the pavement of a sun-cracked


California street, a gallon of milk

slapping his skinny thigh,


his chapped lips grinning,

the milk cool as stone. No,


there is no great release

save for the bitter quick one


that spins all bodies into salt, salt

into open sea.

Kirsten Abel