Splinters in salty heels on timber walkways
twisting through Mid-century homes on pilings

like sculptural gestures to days bygone, sequestered
from the default world, preserved in sand & sea,

our bodies framed by mirrored walls, vaulted ceilings,
& shag carpeting. We lie in repose in conversation pits,

sip planters punch at high tea, or congregate naked
in the makeout loft – subversive rituals turned routine.

We travel by foot or water taxi, from the Grove to the Pines
& the wilderness in-between, sun beating on bare skin

as sweat begins to stream, collecting in a pool on my desk
in health class – I’m 14 again & sick to my stomach,

the ghostly bodies on screen rousing the realization:
They could be me. Born a few years earlier, in the grim

brutality of pre-AZT, it would be almost a certainty. Now,
we bury inherited memories in modernist buildings

on this barrier island Elysian, weathered by an interminable
cold season. In winter, eerie calm, empty houses

like erect skeletons, memorials to mentors long gone,
so that we may frolic in the sand next summer – unburdened.

By Sal Bardo


Sal Bardo is a Los Angeles-based poet, journalist, and award-winning filmmaker. His writing has appeared in Rolling Stone, Billboard, The Village Voice, and Slant Magazine, among others. Sal began writing poetry as a teen and won several awards for his early work, including a contest judged by queer folk icon Ani DiFranco. Both his writing and films often reflect on themes of queerness and memory.

Leave a Reply