The Corner



An anthropology of space? A Cape May

Scenario: porches, hammocks, flags; lawns

Without stone ornaments, small windows

That are bow-shaped for the sea wind,

Mail boxes with salt-air-withered signs,

The pavements narrow enough for a child

To feel grownup for a moment while his parents

Tip-toe around a large toy and then carry him

To the beach. The street dirt is sand.

Off in China the Olympics are starting

Without a sound as the authorities number

The torches and athletes. Space is more real

Here. A bird I’ve never seen before flies

Over the beach with a cry I’ve never heard.

The ocean slams into the shore, rocks breaking

The sand every few hundred yards, reminders

Of the rest of the world far from this sunny place,

Its waves rolling back as if to pull you

Into the past which has more space than ever.

— This poem appears in the November 17, 2014, print issue of National Review.