Northern Oregon Coast
Where water carves the spit into a C-curve of sand,
there should be a sign. Now there is nothing
beyond a crumble of cracked asphalt path rebuilt four times
after storm tides churned the lower Nehalem River,
one rusted rack for bike lock-ups,
a salt-silver cedar bench, a warning marker
for the landing strip, and an arrow to the R-V camp.
A chronic sea-smell of damp wave-leavings.
Nothing says this is where, exactly where
the Nehalem and Tillamook tribes watched stars
on the rare nights free of a slip-fest of fog.
Where they roasted salmon and steelhead
on driftwood fires, harvested clams and mussels,
wove shelter from the rains, made canoes, learned
what tsunamis do to low finger-spits of sand.
The sign could say who, how many
(until the scourge of fevers), how long here,
or why here. Tell the erotic tale
of Wild Woman and her young man on the moss.