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
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
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.