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January 2014, vol 9, no 4

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Steven Carter

Descent I


I’ve had dreams, a ton of them, where I return to the San Francisco Bay Area and immerse myself in its chilly green waters.

Then I feel the warmth envelop me like a womb.

—It envelopes me, too: transforming my dreams into messages I can’t decipher.

Not far from here, in the spring of 1958, my best friend’s mother jumped off the Bay Bridge.

She too left an envelope containing a note which my friend, her ten-year-old son, wasn’t allowed to read.

Like me, before folding her sweater and placing it tenderly on the walkway, did she dream of these chilly green waves?

—Or did she dream of settling, light as a feather, on the warm welcoming water: then swimming back to the Berkeley shore?

—Walking home to Russell Street lined with friendly elm trees, thinking of what to prepare for my friend’s lunch.

BART under the Bay
The Big One
—I shall return




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