A few surprising turns follow us everywhere.
I was shopping for something to replace
what I once felt. Weren’t there buildings there
where we once lived, fully furnished
and looking out on the sea? Didn’t we distill
from neighbors the necessary codes
and gestures? At the core we were all traipse
and meander, governed by fill in the blank.
But it was here, the ramshackle Cape Cod
with rattling shutters eaten away
then revived, mended and painted over.
It takes just a scent of sea spray
to bring back the once was: skimpy,
the bikini, the beach, the conversation,
the veil of summer, skimpy the engine
that chugs toward love, skimpy the cover
of the universe. Thanks to this fragrance
we can sit under our favorite cedar,
or picture the old dreaded barber shop.
Now I want my hair touched, and my cheek.
I want the salt rubbed out with a handkerchief.
This poem is for Teresa Evangeline. 🙂 She shared the following painting–Summer Day On Skagen’s Southern Beach by Peder Severin Kroyer (1884)–on Twitter, and I fell instantly in love with it. I told Teresa I would try to find a poem to pair with it, and while there are many “beach” poems, I couldn’t find the wistful tone I was seeking (maybe because the painting reminds me of childhood trips to the beach?) until one of my favorite poetry sites shared Sadoff’s poem. So thanks to Teresa and thanks to OofPoetry.