As sun descends to meet watery horizon,
its reflection is a shimmering road of gold
bridging the edge of the world
to the hidden cove below.
We stand in a lacquered gazebo
on a cliff isle that is only reached
by an arching stone bridge
that spans an ever-widening breach
created by forces of winds and waves.
The isle has been drifting and falling
from land since before Spaniards
with their missions, before Chumas times,
maybe even before dinosaurs
lived in caverns at the cliff base.
From the cliff-top gazebo, we breathe in
the panorama of the sea scene.
Besides us, the only living things are birds
in their crags, squirrels in their burrows,
and a lone fir tree.
On the tree trunk, someone has left
attached a bouquet of red
and white plastic flowers
in memory of some loved one,
who, by accident
or intent, had slipped
down the sheer cliff
to meet the rocky cove,
in memory of these birds
and squirrels with their brief lives,
in memory of us standing here
who will someday fall
to the cove below
and travel that shimmering road,
in memory of this fir tree
and this cliff isle
that will someday crumble
into the sea,
in memory of this shelter Earth
that someday will be nothing
but a golden shimmer
of dust in this dark universe.