Into the land of youth, westward, to the place of starting again, cities of gold, on the coast of promise--mysterious cure--a mirror's thrown down, and so without luck, without reflection we stop.

We have come to the beginning, the finish of the country, itinerary worn out, facing the surf--what sailors smell as land. We ask detailed questions. None of us can tell, so we tug on each other, "Come. Look."

In this lull, one at the tide line stoops to pick at foam and weeds; another builds a fire. The intended didn't arrive and there is no new plan. As the sun lowers, we face the mountains, consider what we have passed, and fall to dreaming, to scrounging.

From Potential Stranger by Killarney Clary. Copyright © 2003 by Killarney Clary. Reprinted by the University of Chicago Press. All rights reserved.