Across from the mountains, across from the fishing boat paused in the waves, waves like aluminum foil, across from the snowcaps too high to melt, and across from the peaks singing Climb us, climb us! Grab a grappling hook, across from the boat and the sushi it harvests: salmon rolls and dynamite rolls and dragons, across from the sun (the only person who can be in one place and everywhere simultaneously), across from the nearby crags, and across from the ocean, and across from China, and across from Russia, and atop these vertical rocks on Canada’s west coast, on this beach that has no sand—pops a purple crocus, alone, stretching from hard stone, and you know what crocuses celebrate, and could this be that moment? and, yes, the world has refreshed again, and it is the seasonal new year, and it was just the lunar new year, and before that the solar, and before that the liturgical, and before that the Jewish, and the Islamic, and the Theravada Buddhist, and look at us, we keep getting to start over, getting new weather and new stringed instruments and hearing, yes, we admit, new batches of crows, whom we should forgive for being symbolically ominous, which was our fault anyway, but also new seagulls who remind us we are on the beach, on the edge of the unknown, and in the grass behind me naps a bearded young man in brown and tan blankets like he wants to be mistaken for a Jedi or Jesus, which is why I followed him here like a sign, though I wanted sugar from a café, want fish and chips from the pier, want to give up pescetarianism and taste beef jerky the first time in years, and I like my phone because I am flirting with someone witty and new, miles down the coast, and I want to board a steamship to them and say Take me to the art museum with the meditation tours and the Korean calligraphy, and I haven’t even mentioned bread yet, or hummus, or the endorphins jogging brings, or the way strangers tell you shortcuts if you ask, even if you mispronounce a building, and I want to go to that village near the forest, want to stay here and swim even if the water would freeze my blood, want wake the sleeping Jesus, want to ask him big questions and offer him a hardboiled egg from my satchel, want to find the peacocks in that park, to both wear my golden sweater and shed it, and I want to stop saying Wanting too many things at once is a good problem to have, because it is not a problem, it’s just having eyes, and it’s not my fault: I didn’t make the world as wonderful as it, sometimes, appears, and I don’t want to think about later, but instead stay on this vertical rock all afternoon, all week, sketching with this pen a stranger lent then gave me, beside this crow playing his feathered game of grabbing a nut, flying it straight up then dropping it, retrieving it, dropping it, again and again until it cracks open and feeds him.

Brad Aaron Modlin wrote Everyone at This Party Has Two Names and Surviving in Drought. His essays and poems have appeared in Fourth Genre, River Teeth, DIAGRAM, Beloit Poetry Journal, The Slowdown, and Poetry Unbound. The Reynolds Endowed Chair of Creative Writing at University of Nebraska, Kearney, he teaches (under)grads.

Photo by Dinty W. Moore