sting my nostrils as I exit the train at Long Branch station.
The cab driver takes three passengers to individual locations.
He lights a cigarette and uses door-to-door gestures
to sell the idea of a website for troubled youth,
before arriving at the hotel on Ocean View.
The sand is cold and deep, swallowing my ankles,
laced with shell and rock broken by the Atlantic.
Two rows of plastic apartments sway,
leaning, longing, boxing, bellowing,
signaling an SOS to a single boat sailing east.
The waves procrastinate at an awkward pace.
They curl and crash inches from my feet,
as if they too wait for something great
instead of this firecracker fizzled halfway down the fuse.
Beyond that, there’s nothing.
This is what Oklahoma would be if it were an ocean,
flat and plain, a never-ending tarp of navy blue.
But this is Jersey and there are dead palms shading
the guests offered nothing more exciting
than vinyl siding
and seagulls smart enough to stay away from land.