Mission Creek Landing

Julie Bruck

We’d arrived early to meet our kids,            another child’s father and me, talking
quietly between weathered houseboats            and new condos, factory stickers
still pressed to their windows.            We were leaning into the dock’s
splintery rail, when a voice called, Bat ray!            and a huge grey-green shadow
flapped downstream with the current,            below and just beyond our feet. As is
the way with children, that was the moment            ours burst into view, much as they once
slid into waiting hands: six yellow kayaks            on the final lap after five long days on the water.
As soon as we made out their flashing paddles—            anticipating his exhaustion, her hunger,
their triumph—we lost sight of that undulant black flag,            which must have slipped right under
the bright boats, maybe even brushed their keels.

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Julie  Bruck

Julie Bruck has published three previous collections with Brick Books, most recently, Monkey Ranch, which received the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry in 2012. Recent work has appeared in The New Yorker, Best Canadian Poetry, The Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, Plume, The Puritan, Hazlitt, and The Rusty Toque. A long-time Montrealer, she lives in San Francisco. (Author photo by James Chan)

Julie Bruck’s fourth collection of poetry is a book of arguments and spells against the ambushes of time. Parents grow down, children up, and it’s from the uncomfortable in-between that these poems peer into what Philip Larkin describes as “the long slide.” But what if we haven’t reached the end of the infinite adolescence we thought we’d been promised? We’re still here in this world of flying ottomans, alongside a middle-schooler named Dow Jones, and the prehistoric miracle of a blue heron’s foot. We may be afraid, but we’re still amused—sometimes, even awed.

“She is the poet laureate of aftermath, of what we do in the wake of things. She picks up the broken pieces of what’s left, and these she patches together, as she can, into beautifully-wrought poems that bear eloquent witness to what remains.”
—Seán Kennedy

“Alert and precise, perceptive and measured, Julie Bruck’s poems calibrate situations both grave and brave, serious and hilarious, whilst avoiding the ‘large ships’ of heavy-handed conclusion. Here are genuine smarts, mature talent, and a wide-angle vision.”
—Sharon Thesen

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