Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Tide's Gone Out Forever

The Tide’s Gone Out Forever

The harbor sinks under the weight
of too many motor and sailboats.
The little island pops like a wart.
The tourist hordes wash over

and include me in their pastel
and primary colors, one man
crossgrained against the flow.
Remember when you sunbathed

in your modest two-piece navy blue
swimsuit and braced your feet
against my bulk? This crowd
en route to a whale-watch cruise

also braces itself against me,
unaware. I’d stop for a drink,
but my favorite bar has grown
a second story and raised

ambitions as well as prices.
You never travel north anymore.
Your law practice, your husband,
and Brooklyn townhouse anchor you.

Remember the motel that sighed
with honeymooners busy
in rooms to either side of ours?
It bills itself as authentic

1950s kitch. The tide’s gone out
forever, the whale watch canceled.
After receiving its refunds
the mob departs, leaving me

skulking through the little park
where adolescent girls in swimsuits
far less modest than yours deploy
as if dumped from a wheelbarrow.

The harbor’s mud-bottom coughs
little gouts of decay. Fifty
million dollars’ worth of boats
lie on their beam-ends. One stray gull

flusters overhead, puzzled
by the fish flopping and dying
and the mussels clacking like dentures
in the terminal August light.

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