The light in the east gives way to the west, where the
pink and copper golden god slaughters dragon clouds,
and the glory spills onto phosphorus-rich tides.
Across the bay, a light winks in the mansion
of a plumber emulating Gatsby. Here on our dock,
a fat boy casts for smelts against a clotted sky.
Another boy, blond and otter-sleek, proclaims
his boredom to chattering adults. A child’s wagon
on its rusty side begs the child to right it,
race it hurtling to the boardwalk’s edge where
water is so civilized and patiently awaits the night.
A sailboard nudges its appointed slot but will not slip
into bed quite yet. A man in a faded Hawaiian shirt
looks at me and looks away, rejoins the laughter
of the woman he thought he’d chosen for the weekend.
We are waiting, we are waiting. And for what? Some
breath-hold of time, a slip-up of the tide, a meltdown
of this crowd of souls. ‘We won’t come here again,”
I hear a woman say. The hunting has not been good.
Singles carry tote bags and hibachis to the water’s edge.
They squat on folding chairs. If everyone had a wine glass,
they would toast the golden god. And the ferry, too –
may it hurtle us over the tame bay, to lodge our souls
like shards of glass onto the civilized core as the golden
god is fed to his demons, as the night reclaims the sea.
(I wrote this years ago – guess I was sorely disillusioned by a weekend as a guest at a singles vacation rental!)