Giant Dipper Chronic / To See It

Cate Lycurgus

“Giant Dipper Chronic”

I’ve been on this coaster

for decades. Car

for two—but just one bar

to lower—one, or

none. Where I lock my


in for the slow

climb, waiting for what

great heights.

It trundles up the wooden

scaffold, building

the long pitch toward


surf, alternately

to fog. In one, I hold my


hand. Teeth rattle

out of my control; it’s crest

to trough,

each time. Yet I scream

without sound

all the way down. A flash

at the top

takes a photo of your dread  

to get you

to buy it back, but—you’re



for that. Funnel cake, fried

artichokes & bird

shit all hit hard, once


more, the no-getting

off. Still, momentum can

hold you

in, if you want

to be held. The last instant

before descent—

just past dusk, timed just


the light-

house across the harbor


give out

a wink. You shout & point,

as though to turn

crowds toward this sign.


do. Save you,

captive by your stomach’s


the view is always, only,


for they who

have practiced



“To See It”

All year I had asked

for a sign. Day out,

night in, every thought

dead-ended in such

suit. Before you could see

the surf—hear it, even—:

the crush of eucalyptus

came, soon their cobble of


pods with x-ed out

notches afoot. The crash

of water never stopped

not for you for

nothing. Insistent

the only question was—:

how many earshots

back. I stood so far,

each wave dropped

with the tiniest cymbal-

kiss—& leaned in

for it, but with eyes

shut—how to be

sure? & what if

everything is a sign—:

the windshield cracked

clear across, trailing

like a gentle horizon,

the horizon that rose

to match it? What

of the song foretelling

loss come on every

station at once, then

the bridge crossed

to make it, make it

happen? By some hand-

writing on the wall—all

fragments now—a


clause may surface, spell


how to move. Play/

pause. I stopped

at the market, booth

after booth with prices

scrawled in thick

script over cardboard—:

3/$1, $2.50/lb a sign

& a sign & a sign the world

is here for the biting

into. The buying. __X__

here—, you must


Cate Lycurgus’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Best American Poetry, Ploughshares, Kenyon Review, New England Review, and elsewhere. She lives in San Jose, where she interviews for 32 Poems and teaches professional writing. You can find her at

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