Sea of Cortez and Hermosa

by Joseph Mailander


Sea of Cortez

(for Deborah Cortez Lopez)

Falling leaves from

falling arms, the squads

targeting something aural

near the shorebreak in your heart.

First turquoise, then floating, then

submersions, off the sands

of sidereal time, floating

on tiptoes, always floating,

on the sofa with the beagle, floating

on the tinctures of a Mezcal plant,

on Baja pharmacology,

blowing over Isla Angel de la Guarda

on a forceful salsipuedes wind–

It takes the complexities, the heaven days,

The Boy, The Girl, their putative marches

into perfumed halls, all the labors

of just rewards and just deserts

to lift you to the elsewhere

of yourself, &c. As how, when

you first felt home in the Sea of Cortez,

it was when it crashed right over you,

a flood of forbearance, a maze of living




So where

did I lose the Stuka

pelicans; to which

lifeguard stand did they say

au revoir at last,

and the sandpipers with

their panicky legs,

where did they race to, finally?

Bicycling, along with a school

of dolphins for a mile,

maybe more, ramping up

and down the strand, as the smiles

rise to spout, their dorsal fins

splitting the surf like

a laugh at the library

gone out to open water now

I am drinking

your second martini

while plastic fin-legs

prick its olive;

a Mermaid too

has many suitors,

many would-bes, but no

real lovers, like

the sun

to which all sandpipers

scuttle, all pelicans rise,

all dolphins blow,

all mermaids shake and flap,

all souls seek out. The sun

at last, which edits the day

commanding everyone:


is the wind now coming your way,

your feathers blown like pollen,

your beaks crusted, damaged,

your blowholes spraying harmlessly,

your shoulders

growing colder in my breeze,

your faces sandpapered,

your bodies beaten, exhausted, spent at last…

did you think I would fail

to make you too wholly mine in the end,

and why

do you still need me,

not settling, not letting

the setting light go again,

even yet again?


Joseph Mailander is a writer in Los Angeles who has with his wife Lynn forged a special relationship to the Yucatán peninsula across the decades.  He is author of The Plasma of Terror and much other fiction, and an upcoming collections of poems entitled “Minor Arcana – Tarot Poems and Other Poems.”

photo by Dan Griffin


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