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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press


By: Travis Stephens


by reports

of careless plastic

bits in all the waters,

we poke the chair legs

into the wet-dry border,

raise an umbrella.

Before us the buff sand

hot on top, cool below.

My beer bottle displaces

flecks of ivory

that could be anything—

mussel, crab coat,

shrimp armor cast aside.

The sun slaps a wave

& the wave comes ashore.

The flash of silver

in the sand might be

metal, Coke bottle.

But this is the western sea,

the one that trades East

so it might be sake bottle,

bits of bento box threaded

with illegal gillnets. Hardhat.

All tasting of salt, distance

and permanence.

The kid doesn’t care;

she raises a city of wet sand,

bucket towers, cup condos.

She dashes for wet sand,

shrieks at a wave’s caress.

A perfect day in an imperfect world.


Travis Stephens is a tugboat captain who resides with his family in California. A graduate of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, recent credits include: GYROSCOPE REVIEW, 2RIVER, PRIME NUMBER MAGAZINE, SHEILA-NA-GIG, HOLE IN THE HEAD REVIEW, MILETUS, and THE DEAD MULE SCHOOL OF SOUTHERN LITERATURE.

"I am one of six children and one of the middle ones. In January 2020 I was the latest and last to become a grandfather.

The rest of 2020, as you know, has been rife with worry and disaster. The worries appear in the beginning of the poem, the hopeful part appears with 'the kid.' With luck she will be with me on a beach some time in the future."


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