August is the saddest month, sun’s shadows
stretching across the tree-lined street, sunbathers
lying on the beach at dusk, parents gathering up
young children, suntanned lovers caressing, single
souls with books sitting on towels. A poignant time,
knowing what lies ahead: winter’s cold, snows
lasting until April before a late Wisconsin spring.
Foliage shadows cover the bluff.
August hangs heavy in the air, the weight
of ripeness dragging everything down:
Branches bend, roses wilt. This is our autumn,
before we thrive into old age, my kicking
and screaming, my husband’s calm demeanor.

Running on the beach in Atlantic City,
a bird soaring, I always end my dream
by the seaside, my mind fluttering over
the expanse, the openness, the rolling waves,
my home, the boardwalk: Planter’s peanut
man, Steel Pier’s amusements, rides, pinball machines,
nickels lost in boardwalk cracks,
glamorous hotels with swimming pools bordering
the boardwalk, fine clothing stores, Kohr’s frozen
custard, miniature golf courses. No end
to boardwalk thrills and spills. Tired of
museums and ruins. How many rocks
have I stumbled over? How many paintings
have no more life for me? I want the girl back
on the beach, sand between her toes.