Boardwalk (another emoji poem)

“They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-Tree grows…”
~ Edward Lear

Who doesn’t leave fingerprints on everything
they touch? Mini fridge, sliding door, desk,

shower stall; then, lumber like water buffalo
into the mud that’s settled in the brain,

in search of some cool relief. Languishing
with a headache in the sudden heat, I drink

ice water and prowl through fashion sites
wondering why everything is suddenly pink,

frothy— blouses, linen jumpsuits, printed
kimonos, lilac-dyed hair taking over the woolly

scarves of a winter that sometimes seemed
would never end. And wedding dresses,

just because it’s almost June. A change
in the season does strange things, not only

to the weather. Even stranger, because
of climate change. Someone goes for a run

and when he returns there’s hail the size
of ping-pong balls bouncing off deck furniture

and cabanas. In that poem about The Owl
and the Pussycat
I learned in third grade

and still know most parts by heart, one of them
sings to the stars on a small guitar; or is it

a ukulele, or maybe a violin? And one presents
the other with a ring, supposedly filched

from a pig— I wonder, is that literal
or metaphorical? How much did it cost and

is it real, the diamond I mean; or was it cubic
zirconia? Oh let us be married, says the one

to the other. No one, not even the giant squid
in the poem’s magic waters, comes out hollering

Wait, you don’t have to say anything, you don’t
have to say yes right this minute!
Or, Why

don’t you sleep on it at least, and decide
in the morning?
Some things are harder to un-

do than others. A lock has a key until the key
is lost or thrown away; the envelope with

the deed signed and sealed is put into the mail.
And there on the sand they danced by the light

of the moon— Until the beach was overrun by all-
new construction. Now it’s a real tourist trap: with mini

golf, theatres, tanning salons, indoor skydiving silos;
all you can eat Chinese buffet and pizza. On the strip,

bars lit with neon and tiki torches: from which, every so
often, there’ll be an ambulance or fire truck speeding away.

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