Robert (Bob) Yen is a third generation American. He practices law in Phoenix as he has for the past 40 years. He is a past recipient of a Swarthout Award for poetry. This is his poem about the Pacific Coast Highway.
Pacific Coast Highway
Ahead, your shoreline cries to me
as it has for ten thousand years,
calling me through dying forests
and the perfume of rain on creosote
to an expedition
in search of something everlasting.
Descending beyond this valley: my mother
clutching her mother;
my grandfather, father and uncles tall and dark
amidst fields of flowering asparagus,
vanishing into the grey of morning.
I see my wife and children
reflected in the wet sand on which they pass,
framed by trapezoids of sun and surf,
each as light as breath.
Entering your gate, my cheek is wet
with salt and cypress. The roar of your waves against
the rocks is immense, your cliffs are as white
and your water as blue as my memory,
At night, in this narrow inlet, the ocean
continues its assault,
stars glint off tall cypress,
and wolves bay their lament at a yellow moon
that permanence, if it exists at all,
can never be ours.