Cape May

We walk down to the beach

carrying our belongings

like refugees, and settle down

among stripes and polkadots

in the rented shade of an umbrella,

facing the bottle-green waves,

their crashing noise an excuse for us

not to talk. I start thinking

about the wind and the sea

and their strange marriage,

how powerless a storm would be

without the ocean's wide-open runway -

and how I'd miss the whiff of freedom

in clothes and pillowcases

that I sometimes dry outside

to conjure up childhood.

When it's time to leave,

I beat at the wind

that bulges the blanket

we lift up together, both of us

laughing now, loud enough

for the other to hear,

the way I heard my parents laugh

on summer afternoons

swinging me in the blanket

from side to side,

high, higher,

into the sky

but then, too soon,

much too soon

sliding me out,

to fold the day away.

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