Islands + Remnants

I. The City

I worry I won’t remember
how to walk the City sidewalks.
Turns out it is like riding a bicycle
in high gear.

I’m in it again.
The rush + flow
navigate my steps.
30,000 on average per day.

I can’t stop.
It goes by too fast.

The Central Park reservoir
with its remarkable views
of residential skyscrapers
sprouting like weeds.

The SeaGlass carousel in the Battery.
How did I not know about it before?
30 internally illuminated, shimmering
fiberglass fish rotate on turntables

inside a chambered nautilus
shaped pavilion. I can’t resist.

A little island park has arisen
from the remains of Pier 54
on the Hudson River
atop concrete tulips.

I will not take any photos
of the reflecting pools—
footprints of unspeakable loss
20 years cannot heal.

Face-to-face, in-the-flesh
conversations with dear friends
remind me
I’m not always so alone.

II. Nomans Land

As the plane begins to descend
through a thick wall of clouds, I see
the ocean, then
Nomans Land.

Turns out the origin
of the uninhabited island’s name
is possibly a nod to Tequenoman,
a Wampanoag sachem.

The tranquil greenery
belies hidden
unexploded ordnance
riddled across the island.

III. The Vineyard

Then Aquinnah comes into view,
+ I know this is

the island
imprinted on my heart.
My one + only tattoo—
invisible as those UXO.

I never took the Middle Road.
I am a weathered cedar
shake in silent conversation
with the stone walls

I didn’t see. This time
it really is a skunk I smell.

The Flying Horses—
the second carousel I ride in a week.
No brass ring. I’m out of practice,
catching only two at a time.

I would never pull
on the antique horse’s mane.

There’s the rocky beach
where I learned to swim.
There’s Vanessa, the sea serpent
flashing her head + tail in Farm Pond.

Just after I run over it,
the Lagoon Pond bascule bridge
opens to let a schooner
pass through.

Snails glide across
the bike path along Beach Road.
I wish I could be
so fearless.

Waiting for the bus to Menemsha,
I hear a man say:

“He’s the only guy I know who’s caught two
seagulls, one barehanded + one
with a rope. A lifeguard
with too much time on his hands.”

Waterspouts + multiple tornado warnings
+ a relentless downpour awaken me
the last night on the island.
Ferries being diverted come morning

as white caps + serious wind gusts
prove remnants
of Hurricane Ida
really did travel this far north.

IV. Mainland

When I open my suitcase
back home in the middle,
I can smell the Vineyard
in my clothes.

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