Muni Art 2020 - Melissa Stein Poet Page

Share this:

Baker Beach

Close your eyes on that startled
vision: fishing line strung taut
by the waves’ tall pressure: cold sugar
of a fish’s mouth clamping the bait’s steel
surprise. Hold fast against the tide, its spray
finer than pleasure against your sun-
ruddy face. Understand there’s nowhere
to go. I mean you have nowhere
you must go. What we trust is the sound
of the sea, its chill shock, our faith
in its change. Rolling together and under
and up and apart and on to the next
body. This is the pacific.

Melissa Stein, “Baker Beach.” Reprinted with the permission of the author. All rights reserved.
Muni Art 2020, San Francisco Beautiful,

Melissa Stein

Headshot of Muni Art 2020 Poet Melissa Stein

Melissa Stein is the author of the poetry collections Terrible blooms (Copper Canyon Press) and Rough Honey, winner of the APR/Honickman First Book Prize. Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, Tin House, Harvard Review, New England Review, American Poetry Review, Best New Poets, and others, and she’s received awards and fellowships from the NEA, Pushcart Prize, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Sewanee Writers' Conference. She is a freelance editor in San Francisco.

Artist Interpretations

Indigenous person on shore of San Francisco Bay with fog shrouded Golden Gate Bridge in distance
Vanessa Fajardo

Two swimmers riding waves with a fish in foreground and the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance
Jocelyn Li Langrand

Stylized image of a photo from Baker Beach with a fisherman in the foreground and the Golden Gate Bridge beyond
Shannon Bodrogi

Light blue background with red lines across alluding to the Golden Gate Bridge
Wendy Ackrell

Collage of images including a car and its driver, a golden figurine, trees, and other objects
Skooter Fein