Aug 7, 2021 • 1M

Dispatch #18

Lost Coast

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Joseph Massey
Poetry.
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California’s been on my mind the past several weeks as wildfires ravage the West Coast. “Lost Coast” was written when I lived in Humboldt County, California, and was published in my first book Areas of Fog.

California is as beautiful as it is volatile, and I tried to capture that dynamic in many of the poems I wrote while living there.


Lost Coast

A cragged stack

in the gathering gray

surf, crowded by

seabirds,

their prehistoric

profiles. We

pull over

to argue, not

to talk,

but the words

won’t form—

the terrain

overtakes them.

Bright litter

drifts into

sand and

small stones

at our feet.

Across the

street, cows

corral behind

barbed wire,

stock-still

in each other’s

shadows. We

don’t need words

to read the sun’s

angle. We know

it will soon be

too dim

to navigate

the switchbacks

without guardrails

we descended

to arrive.