The Ocean’s Only Word

During your Palm Springs summer,
your off-white apartment walls curved
around you like an elegant shell
pulled together tight by the bit of meat inside.

Eventually any distraction seemed a blessing.
Sometimes you appeared able to conjure
up some sound or other outside,
but never the one you wanted.

Once it was the ocean on the desert’s far side,
its only word, over and over, less than a whisper
at this distance, unceasing and more important
than all the water it tries to send over the mountains.

Water that streams back to it
holy, cold, and saltless.


Getting light

He often finds the lens a burden.

Fixing wedding days to stiff strips of plastic
and chemistry that can grasp all a moment’s light.

The walk, the ring, the kiss, the dance,
the sliding garter, the departure.

Each photo almost instantly a melancholy,
always showing more of what has vanished

since the shutter snapped aside and allowed
the film just enough light, but no more.

He can’t trust in his stale eye now
and is slow to focus these scenes.

Turning the lens out and back, trying to find
how far, but never quite sure he got the light

to where it needs to be.


Near Disaster

The first day after
our near disaster,

coaxing leftover smoke
out open autumn windows,

you missed a bit tucked
in that knot near your heart

where blood meets breath,
the source of all you know

about what isn’t ash or ember yet
and all you know of seeds

that only crack open for the rain
after wildfire passes.


lee potts photo sqLee Potts is a poet with work in several journals including Ghost City Review, 8 Poems, UCity Review, Barren Magazine, and Sugar House Review. He also has work forthcoming in Saint Katherine Review and Parentheses Journal. He lives just outside of Philadelphia with his wife and their last kid still at home. He’s online at and Twitter @LeePottsPoet

Featured photo credit: Amanda Ollinik  @Allunderonemoon