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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, June 16, 2016.
About this Poem 

“I’ve been thinking about the things we can’t shake—the people, the memories, the habits that return to us over and over. Just when we think they’re gone, they come back to us in some other form. Best, it seems, to acknowledge and welcome them; to ride the wave until, inevitably, it’s gone again.”
—Nicole Callihan

The End of the Pier

I walked to the end of the pier
and threw your name into the sea,
and when you flew back to me—
a silver fish—I devoured you,
cleaned you to the bone. I was through.
But then you came back again:
as sun on water. I reached for you,
skimmed my hands over the light of you.
And when the sky darkened,
again, I thought it was over, but then,
you became water. I closed my eyes
and lay on top of you, swallowed you,
let you swallow me too. And when
you carried my body back to shore—
as I trusted that you would do—
well, then, you became shore too,
and I knew, finally, I would never be through.

Copyright © 2016 by Nicole Callihan. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 16, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2016 by Nicole Callihan. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 16, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Nicole Callihan

Nicole Callihan

Nicole Callihan is the author, most recently, of The Deeply Flawed Human (Deadly Chaps, 2016) and SuperLoop (Sock Monkey Press, 2014).

by this poet

poem

Our paper house sat
on the banks of the red river

and though mother
wasn’t like other mothers

I was like other girls
trapped and lonely

and painting pictures
in the stars. I was slick

with old birth or early longing,
already halfway between

who I wanted to be