We agreed to meet near the cave, whose walls
he’d press me against. The slick damped
my shirt, the cold raised goosebumps
on my skin. The ocean crashed outside
or in our hearts, and the air smelled
like salt and sea lions. We were in the land
of tall trees, where horsetails
grew up foggy slopes near giant ferns.
I might have expected to see a velociraptor
spring from the undergrowth, go tearing
down the beach toward those haystack
rocks. But no dinosaurs came and we were
an afternoon of salty skin and hair, of
sand between the toes and everywhere else,
of waves catching small stones
and softening them. We bordered
ancient forests, re-learned each other’s
bodies and scars, the way our hands fit.
There’s nothing like the ocean and trees
like skyscrapers to remind us of our breath,
to remind us we are only brief.
Liz N. Clift has had poetry appear in Rattle, Hobart, The National Poetry Review, Passages North, and elsewhere.