The poets of Sixteen Rivers deeply regret that the last five lines are missing from Julia Levine’s “Golden Gate” as it appears in our new anthology, The Place That Inhabits Us. The poem appears correctly beginning with our second printing of the anthology. Here is the poem in its entirety:
Golden Gate by Julia Levine
For the lonely, the bridge is a seam between two skies.
And sky, the lowest register of sleep.
Once a colleague of mine locked her baby in a room
and drove two hours out to this bridge to die.
And driving through these fields of mustard,
not even a glimpse of two bulls fighting in the hills
could keep my friend from climbing the guardrail,
skirt hiked up.
Now my daughter opens her mouth to the radio’s song,
face turned toward the window,
and I see I was mistaken:
I’ve been speaking to my younger self all along,
swaying on the bridge up there, a handful of pills
sleek as bullets cupped against her lips.
Tell me, what is loneliness,
if not the strain of standing on the edge of all you know?
Look, my daughter says suddenly,
pointing to the ocean’s watery nothing.
Which is beautiful and blue and carnal. For the sea,
everything that matters is the sky
as it is interrupted by a bridge: thinnest line
that can hold two worlds together
without becoming one.
Here are two other poems from the anthology.
Green Hills by Kay Ryan
Their green flanks
and swells are not
flesh in any sense
we tell ourselves.
Nor their green
breast nor their
green shoulder nor
the language of their
Time Spirals by Kenneth Rexroth
Under the second moon the
Salmon come, up Tomales
Bay, up Papermill Creek, up
The narrow gorge to their spawning
Beds in Devil’s Gulch. Although
I expect them, I walk by the
Stream and hear them splashing and
Discover them each year with
A start. When they are frightened
They charge the shallows, their immense
Red and blue bodies thrashing
Out of the water over
The cobbles; undisturbed, they
Lie in pools. The struggling
Males poise and dart and recoil.
The females like quiet, pulsing
With birth. Soon all of them will
Be dead, their handsome bodies
Ragged and putrid, half the flesh
Battered away by their great
Lust. I sit for a long time
In the chilly sunlight by
The pool below my cabin
And think of my own life—so much
Wasted, so much lost, all the
Pain, all the deaths and dead ends,
So very little gained after
It all. Late in the night I
Come down for a drink. I hear
Them rushing at one another
In the dark. The surface of
The pool rocks. The half moon throbs
On the broken water. I
Touch the water. It is black,
Frosty. Frail blades of ice form
On the edges. In the cold
Night the stream flows away, out
Of the mountain, towards the bay,
Bound on its long recurrent
Cycle from the sky to the sea.