Summer romances often blossom and then wither in August. Mine mostly withered. For more sad, poignant, or silly stuff visit alanwalowitz.com.
Beware: Dangerous Riptides,
the sign warned,
but there was lovely Alice in her two-piece,
charging out against churning surf and good sense
and finally far from her gaggle of pals, arriving
way beyond where the rollers formed into pile drivers
to create, I suppose, those riptides. But what did I care?
I would get her alone beyond all the crashing
and tell her something to make her laugh,
always my only hope. And as the pull of ocean carried me out
way beyond where a swimmer like me had any right to be,
and her strong crawl and athletic form brought her easily back to shore,
I could have sworn I heard her laugh as she passed
and say between strokes: Careful out there, kiddo,
no lifeguard today. Alice of my Daunted Dreams,
I would die in the drink and never see her again--
but she’d talked to me, though, for all I knew,
she didn’t know my name.
Fire Island, 1970
published originally by Silver Birch Press
Endings Set Us Free
Call All County Vacuum
and they bring the big green truck
to clean up most everything—
fire, flood, petroleum spills—
but not this botched goodbye,
messy enough to qualify for special rates,
and oddly without the usual junk and detritus
that by rights we ought to be able to call on
to salve each I’ve-been-wronged,
or to look back on fondly one day
with a heartfelt but quizzical, why did I care?
as it’s swept out with the old year’s dust.
Let’s take this drift into full estrangement
and make it work for us.
You could live a long time,
the Flying Dutchman of the cyber oceans,
or here I am, patiently awaiting
the next Transit of Venus—
true, not due till next century,
but if I insist on seeing it, I’ll have to hang on;—
so what if I’ll feel bad all the while,
crane my turkey neck to the sun
then go completely blind.
originally published in Napalm and Novocaine
© 2017 Alan Walowitz
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