It just so happens to be at this point . . . The television’s on, muted.
And the ocean reduces its face. Ebb upon ebb,
Soap after soap, each retreating, fleet. Close-ups remit themselves
but reducing, rude. Waves rescind themselves from the shore.
to the tube. Faces floating, cellophaning like
Retreat from the mile-markers. Denude the sandbars.
coats on a dry cleaner’s conveyor. Follow into follow. Anonymous.
No longer underwater are shallows and hollows.
Then back to the true-tried tricks, to one
Back then. Back to the blue-striped sticks. Back to one
Gasp! and tragic hang-on. Next, Tide. Whirlpool. Ajax.
total and lonesome point. Ebb tide. My eye contracts, squints
My mind retracts into itself, into its memories, into those memories
to see the horizon line alive with ships’ slight teetering.
collected in the head’s clear aquarium. (Here, memories don’t pull.
In wind, each mast flinches a bit, but only a bit,
Memories lilt, like kites, like blue buoys on an ocean.)
like a girl’s mock curtsey. Motorboats boil the waves.
Wildwood, NJ. 1982. My grandparents’ walls
Skis lacerate them. The monochromes of teens
flit, writhe, rollick in the television’s light. (Too bright
kick, dive, frolic from anchored sterns. (Too far
to see through it, though. Bodies lost
to see them clearly, though. Bodies like
in the distemper’s blue.) 1983. Trips to the boardwalk.
a test pattern’s bands.) I squint hard. I step into
Boat rides. Low tides. Steps onto the ocean’s floor.
the ocean’s empty, its mud now alive with periwinkles and crabs.
Is there a life’s midpoint? Forty-four-point-six years, give or take
I await the return. Hours. Slow flows to the ankles.
a few? A symmetry, at which a mind’s new knowing is replaced
The ocean re-floods its floor. Boats, with masts and antennae
by a mind’s remembering? Some last, substantial thing should happen,
now in greater number, nose back into the channel.
and it should end the mind’s reaching out (Boardwalk.
Some speed. Homeowners rap with flat hands
Skee ball. Siren wail. Kewpie doll.), begin its reaching in
their aluminum siding, yelling, No Wake! No Wake! The teens return.
(I was a prizewinner. I was a prizewinner.).
Bodies browned, ruined by the sun’s proximity.
I’m waiting. Here. Now. For the show’s return, begin.
Their two-piece straps, draw strings now visible.
Here, at rest, safely in the chair’s confines.
The procession of blue-polka-dot, white-polka-dot, blue-polka-dot
Television rubs upon my face its blue abrasions.
like a lateral static. Above each rudder
Is there one episode to take us to life’s midpoint?
is a name (The Fishin’ Magician), a place (Denisville, NJ).
Am I able to complete the blue of man’s memory? My memory?
But so many, so slow—No Wake!—float past.
Wait! A new thought! Worse yet (Look out!),
We set our eyes upon one another. Our mouths—to smile?
in this case (Oh no!), what if it just did, and I am?
to ‘Hi’?—never move. And this—this is the beginning of forgetting.