This poem is excerpted from Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s memory of his bimonthly trips to Ogunquit, Maine during his childhood. While his father drives and his mother sits in the passenger seat, Spicer lies down in the backseat and enjoys the various sights and silences of long road trips. 



…at first, there is darkness.

Then specks like salt grains flow

in and out of the black air

they fall as plentiful as static. A very soft neon

glow emits from someplace, and suddenly

Spicer feels warm, enclosed

and comfortable.

He sees before him his mother and father,

and out of what are now clearly windows

he sees the orange orbs of streetlights shoot by

like fireballs.

His insides begin to vibrate.

The engine weeps

as his father presses the gas, comfortably tracing

the shape of whatever road they’re on. Slowly,

the sound of the engine and the soft hush

of his parent’s voices dissolve

from sound into sensation.

Where are they going?

A familiar place, where the air stings

with saltwater and the stores all have oil paintings

in the windows and from shop doorways drifts

the smell of fresh-baked pastries

and the voices of proprietors in greeting.

The weekend awaits.

They will arrive deep

into the night and sleep

well into morning,

waking up to fresh sunlight

and the sound of salt marsh sparrows

perched in the birch trees

outside the inn windows.

They will eat breakfast as a unit,

and pack a cooler

and head down to the beach

afterward, where the weather will be too cold

and the water too shallow to swim in,

but it will be miraculous to see,

a flat wide expanse of sand and water,

rhythmically impeding on each other,

the wet sand reflecting Maine’s gargantuan blue sky,

and every wave meeting its destiny at shore


Throughout all this,

through the night and the fresh morning,

breakfast and the beach,

there will be silence


There will be wind and water

and the soft irritation of sand grains

abrading the sides of buildings,

but all human sounds will be suppressed

by the inexplicable harmony of the world,

and Spicer will be there,

standing between his parents,

father on his left, mother on his right,

looking out at the ocean,

and he will be warm and comfortable

and profoundly happy to be alive.

Written at 11:00 at night, in my office, in Agoura Hills CA. 

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