Eli Coyle

Near me on the shore, a young woman presses her baby to her breast, a young man is a father and I am getting older on the edges of this lake. To think whatever is bigger sent me here to heal wounds once glued together, now divided—water and rock. This morning I woke to the sounds of my love leaving. Every morning she leaves, and I am left with the emptiness of autumn. It is a repetition in the body, a parting of lips perhaps with coffee. In the evenings after work, I plant my feet in the coarse sand of granulated granite and try to hold what is possible, such grief in summer sun. I’m trying to fill Lake Tahoe with more fuel for fracturing granite, so I cry, cry, cry fractions into a whole. But there is no solace here in the fading summer or in the young couple who mimic the outside, the outside that is always the inside raised to a condition of secrecy, a mirror within a mirror. Water and sky, one and the same—

The granite that may or may not

be in love with the lake

the lake

shaving pieces

into parts

a parting still leaves


How can something so soft



her lips


one-ton boulders

from my face

Chisel me in softness, I think now, it is private enough to empty on the outer edges of these rocks. The young couple whose story I do not know—the intellect tries to make sense of the patterns outside, a story, a resemblance in the random Rorschach blots of a life. To be pulled apart by the wind, rippling waves across the lake. To love a thing too much, to let it go. I can’t tell if this story is a peace or a part.

Who is to say

who is wiser—

water or rock?

One so soft

it erodes the other

The other a stability

a place to stand

in the great void.

Who is to say

they are inseparable?

Who is to say

how long

they’ve been doing this?

Near me on the shore, a young woman presses her baby to her breast, a young man is a father and I getting older on the parts of this whole. Who is to say the outside salves the wounds without warning, or that the outside descends the sun and dissolves all boundaries without separation? Whatever is bigger arrives to teach you how to leave, or how to be left, chiseled from a whole shedding one ton boulders from my face.

About the Author

Eli Coyle received his MA in English from California State University-Chico and is currently a MFA candidate at the University of Nevada-Reno. His poetry and prose have recently been published or are forthcoming in: Barely South Review, California Quarterly, Camas, Caustic Frolic, Hoxie Gorge Review, New York Quarterly, The Normal School, Permafrost Magazine, Soundings East, and The South Carolina Review among others.