NR Digital


by Stephen Scaer


Happy Bay is what a beach should be:
the sea grapes shade a flat of sifted sand,
an azure sky blends with a turquoise sea.
The younger tourists, muscular and tanned,
ride jet skis past the pier by Hunter’s Quay,
play bocce, volleyball, walk hand-in-hand,
discussing majors, marriages, careers,
and where they’ll be in ten or twenty years.

But older visitors now at the age
by which they either had or missed the fun,
spread out like extra props across the stage,
or plump sea lions, listless in the sun,
staring blankly at the ocean or a page,
talking of where we’ve been or what we’ve done.
We rise for cocktails, dinner specials; then,
we watch the news and fall asleep by 10,

leaving the youth to sea-side tiki bars,
the pulsing waves, the vodka and caffeine,
the screeching laughter, muffled by guitars,
the heat, the thrashing dances, and the sheen
of sweat; the lamps like fireflies in jars,
the moon ascending like a nectarine
to wax as brightly as a varnished stone,
to shine on them, and follow them alone.

But I’ve grown up and trained myself to want
the things that I can have; be satisfied
with coffee at my favorite morning haunt,
a morning fair enough to sit outside,
a newspaper, a buttery croissant,
my favorite sea-side table occupied
by one who rose at dawn and left me sleeping,
who waves me over to the seat she’s keeping.

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