Robert K. Johnson
Born in New York City (in Elmhurst), I lived in several different places there but have memories only of The Bronx (off Fordham Road). Then my family moved out "on The Island"—to Lynbrook, where we stayed till I graduated from Hofstra (then a College). Several years after my wife, Pat, and I married, we, plus our two children, settled in the Boston area and have remained there (except for my daughter, Kate, who has lived in Manhattan for quite a while). I have been writing poetry since I was twelve (many moons ago).
ARRIVING AT THE SEASHORE
however intense my rippling
joy or pounding grief,
when I visit the edge of your surge
I am never a too-loud party guest
embarrassing himself. No--
your ceaseless waves'
climb and crash and tumbling
avalanche of foam--
I blend right in
with your blue extreme.
previously published in BREVITIES
I still see that high school boy--
his white shirt bulged by his stomach,
his pimpled cheeks pale with excitement--
see him enter the restaurant
with a girl so attractive he must not
at first have believed she said "Yes"
when he dared to ask her out,
see her best friend, whom she must
have insisted come along,
while fear for him burns inside me.
Served a pizza he treats them to,
the girls--when he bends forward
to take a too-big bite--
make faces behind his back.
They touch their slices only
with the tips of their teeth--their message
blunt as the blare of a horn:
they don't like what they taste.
They talk solely to each other.
All their actions are puzzle pieces
that--fit together--show me
the pretty girl's "Yes" was a way to have
a funny story to tell all her friends.
But I'm still haunted by questions:
How much of that date did he come
to understand? And how much did he
describe to his mother, surely
waiting up for him? And why
have I never outlived this memory?
©2018 Robert K. Johnson
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