Photo of a flight of pelicans against a gray sky. Own work 2023.

The Gate of Pinecones

First published in The Coachella Review in the Winter 2018 issue

by AK Krajewska

This poem was first published in The Coachella Review in the Winter 2018 issue, along with another poem of mine, "El Camino Del Mar at Dusk."

I've found it challenging to place poems with nature imagery that's explicitly West Coast or even more, specifically Californian. In grad school, my advisor called it the four seasons bias. If it's a nature poem, it better follow the four seasons climate or good luck to you getting published. So when I'm browsing Duotrope for likely journals, I look for names that hint they might be open to West Coast imagery. "Coachella" was a big hint, making me think of the San Gorgonio Pass wind farm at the Coachella Valley entrance (and not the festival, because I am a big nerd). I was really happy that both of these poems found a home, and I appreciate the journal's openness to this kind of imagery.

The Coachella Review is online, and you can read the entire Winter 2018 Issue. They also accept submissions, though you should check when the submission period is open.

The Gate of Pinecones #

Will you come through the gate of pinecones
where Baker Beach breakers bite the shoreline
and flights of bent-necked pelicans
hover in the winds against the serpentine cliffs
that winter rains weaken and ruin

where the falcon stands still in the coastal thermals
and I say in a hundred round about ways
as we kiss in the bunker’s cement pillbox
and observe the coastal fog float on the inversion layer
that I have already fallen, that I am already falling
that I am already ruined, that I am falling
into the ocean, that I have already jumped
that I am dissolved that I am a landslide
that the land has slid out from under me

And the force of this is, yes, like high tide
like undertow that pulls you deeper if you fight
but I, like a surfer, like a fool,
went in willingly.