There is water here, somewhere,
but not at the end of this street,
or the next one, each finding only a barrier
of evergreens.         And so I walk
ever further into this maze of houses,
each reclaimed from history, yards
landscaped with native grasses,
plants built to withstand drought.
The sky is the sea’s exhalation,
but when I cup my hands to my ear
like a shell I don’t hear the lapping
of gentle waves against the shore,
the shrill cry of ocean birds.         And so I walk.
until I find an ancient tree with a tiny door
painted onto the base of its trunk,
as if for a gnome or an elf. I kneel,
compressing the bones in my spine,
wondering if its possible anymore
to be small enough to pass through
and see the other side’s expanse.

Matthew J. Andrews is a private investigator and writer from California. He is the author of I Close My Eyes and I Almost Remember, and his poetry has appeared in Orange Blossom Review, Pithead Chapel, and EcoTheo Review, among others. He can be contacted at