It was sometime in March.
We threw small stones
as far as we could throw.
And there seemed to be
no other people anywhere
as far as we could see,
which was a long way
on this morning in March.

We sat on the cement seawall
that stood against the sea,
against the storms, against
the returning of the waves.
It stood and withstood
and still remained strong.
That cement is made of sand
could be called a mystery.

We had been discussing
or almost discussing
the approaching tide,
the highest tide on record
which, like your bride-to-be,
had come in this morning
and was at its peak as well.
We both knew,
without the slightest hesitation,
that with a tide like this
you either, like the seawall,
stand steady and get wet
or just turn around and run.

Then you said,
“Well, it would be different if I were famous, like Hemingway.
I could do things like, leave her for you, and people would understand.
They would say, oh, that’s okay, he’s Hemingway.”

And that was that.
Just as your sentence became my memory
of an unseasonably sunny morning in March
the seawall collapsed,
as if it had no idea it was made of cement,
and shattered the sound of the high spring tide.


Elizabeth Underwood has been an advertising copywriter and copy editor since 1992. She is currently employed as a copy editor in San Francisco. Other vocational experience includes many years of both professional and volunteer work as on-air talent for six radio stations. Her current radio involvement is with KWMR as the host and programmer of “To Hell and Bach,” in which she integrates most genres of music and spoken word. Occasionally, when lucky, she works as a voice-over talent and vocalist. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Cape Rock, Marin Poetry Center Anthology, Midwest Quarterly, Paragon Journal, Slab, and WomenArts Quarterly. She has attended numerous writing conferences and workshops, including several workshops at the Tor House Foundation (1990-1998) and Point Reyes Writing Retreat (2010-2018).