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Editors' Pick

On the Day of a Distant Invasion

Down through a forested gouge in the earth,
we took the trail under tall firs and cedars
toward our secret lookout. We wanted to take in
the distances over our inland sea.

Off that water an icy wind infiltrated
our slice of woods—old conifers shifted,
moaned like live sirens. Ferns thrived on those
moss-curtained towers—countless fronds waved
like green warning flags.

We kept on
and emerged on the ledge where fast air blasted
our faces. We pulled our collars up and our hats
snug. Past the drop-off, twin sheen of tracks
hugging the shore, no train, but the wind gave
a rumbling.

And all along that unbroken
stretch of stony bare beach, the waves advanced
toward us off that coarse disturbance of sea
with nothing out past it but what seemed the dark
flank of a beast where horizon belonged,

in their pale chaos epaulettes, the next
crest and the next, sacrificing themselves down
to froth on the gravel.

While we stood far
from that edge, and the hoarse din of the front
blowing in filled our ears, I swear we could hear
those swells crash the pebbles, that ceaseless
assault, yes, every last gurgle and hiss.


  1. Erika Michael on

    So powerful, Jed! And oh, “the froth on the gravel”

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