We have tied our things up in white plastic
grocery bags to keep them dry and to keep them
from being taken away from us. Mine has
three knots in its handles (from habit,
not for safekeeping); a strange man
approaches and I spit out adios, adios, adios.
At night it is cold here
we are damp from the ocean, wearing
swimsuits under red sundresses,
lying on piled-up beach recliner rentals
There are other things we remember from then:
iron-tasting water, shiny worms used as lures,
burning our legs on a metal slide in the sun
we tell everyone: just because we
woke up crying doesn’t mean we’re
sad, and yes we’re ready to get
up now and yes we want to wear
beachwear under our clothes all day.
There is a game where we pretend
our lives are underwater. We wear pink
goggles and black foam water shoes
we call them river shoes even in the pool
we go to bed smelling like chlorine
and rubber innertubes and salt
and dirt and bug repellant and we’ve
watched too many horror films.
The highway was not haunted
like I thought it was. The cars just
sound like that from here:
like an owl,
like broken limbs,
like a story about the worst
and best parts of everything.
Jackie Sherbow is a writer and editor living in New York. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Bad Pony, Luna Luna, Day One, The Opiate, Bluestockings Magazine, and elsewhere, and have been part of the NYC-based Emotive Fruition performance series. She works as an editor for two leading mystery-fiction magazines (Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine) as well as Newtown Literary, the literary journal dedicated to the borough of Queens, NY.