Santa Monica Pier by Anna Scotti


At the end, there’s no right or wrong to it,
just a stroll down the pier, the papers tucked beneath
your arm and my hand jammed in my pocket,
in case you might reach for it. If you felt the trembling
you would lead me to that cold water and let it
splash over us, wash over us, let the clean waves lift us,
huddled at the break. I can’t do that again.
There’s the chained lot where we smoked a joint
in your orange Bug, the one with the broken gas gauge
and a cracked sun roof: all the luxury we needed,
the moon watching over us like a kindhearted big sister.
And here’s the booth where we took the photo our daughter
keeps taped to her vanity: that big eighties jumpsuit
I saved all month to buy, your hair slicked
off your forehead and both of us, young and dumb
as water in a cup.

Gulls are settling at the shore where we lay past dusk.
We traced letters in the wet sand and made plans,
big ones. The sand is the same, the water, the moon
hanging shamefaced over the blurred horizon, and
all our mistakes piled up like driftwood behind us.
Night is coming, for those with shelter
and for those without, its water dark and pushing
up against the crumbling shore.


Anna Scotti is a poet, writer, teacher and public speaker. Earlier this year, she was awarded the Orlando Prize for Short Fiction (AROHO) and the Pocotaligo Prize for Poetry (Yemassee). She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize twice and has been honored by various literary journals. Scotti’s fiction and poetry have recently appeared in The Los Angeles Review, The Comstock Review, Yemassee, Chautauqua, Crab Creek Review, and The Best of Ohio / 2014. Scotti currently teaches at a French international school in Los Angeles. Much of her published work can be found online at