Going to the Coast
begins with a crush
of drivers not going to the coast,
the crisp, fall evening rushing by your windows,
the warmth from the heater,
darkness of the front seat.
Her hand rests across your thigh.
The damp motel waits quietly for you to arrive
where the manager will greet you
like a favorite nephew, happy
you’re here and press the key to your palm.
“Rm 8” it will say, allowing entrance
to knotty pine and mold,
but you’re not quite there.
You make that turn off the highway
at the red neon—a vacancy for you.
She gently squeezes the back
of your neck, moves her hand
into your hair as the car rolls to a stop,
checks her face in the visor mirror.
You switch off the motor and turn to her,
and the engine ticks as it cools.
Out beyond the beach grass
and the feeble porch lights, the ocean
that you know must be there roars.
Steven Quig’s first experience with writing poetry came as a member of Nelson Bentley’s evening poetry workshop at the University of Washington during the early 1980s. He now teaches English at North Seattle Community College, and his work has appeared in a number of journals including Poetry Northwest, The Seattle Review, The Climbing Arts, The Memphis State Review, Spitball: The Literary Magazine of Baseball, Pontoon, and others, including Metro’s Poetry on the Buses anthology.