Dunes sour with saliva.
3-boys play king shedding
mountains in glandular drunkenness. The boardwalk
House of Good Intention squares its shoulders
to the rotating pistons of a blue/brown sea.
Green sodium light and 6-pack rings. A copper-locked Medusa
Smiles. To stave off erosion. Beautiful Route 71!
Beautiful miniature golf ruins! Beautiful Loan Tree!
Never trust a trinity
Tides mumble through
a cupped hand. 1-girl
on an unmanned life-guard stand runs
her finger along the seam of her cut-offs, compulsively
tugs the horizon like a kite string. Asbury Park. Not even the radio
has arms long enough. Masked sadism
and Skee-Ball machines. To stave off vandals. Particle board
and chicken wire spiral to warped galaxies.
Plywood shutters pale to pewter, then to ash.
Through royal palm and trumpet flower, he carves
and fucks and paves. He cultivates and fables.
Even the monkey grass recoils. Five building cranes
bow to sunset in a courtly sihouette. It is not indigo
that frightens him, not tension cables strung
from the Puente Solidaridad. Pastures of amaranth
tumble from an ample shawl of mountain. How much
damage is done in touch? In debt and obligation? Through acres
of marigolds untilled, he lays a tendril of the Pan-American.
Silver paths wither; each diesel down from Brownsville leaves
another widowed seemstress. Power lines stitch their careless hems.
He traces their nervature:
utility pole or crucifix?
Never sure whether the iris was wilting or in bloom.
Susan Briante, a poet, essayist and translator, is the author of books of poetry: Pioneers in the Study of Motion, Utopia Minus, and The Market Wonders. Defacing the Monument, a series of essays on immigration, archives, aesthetics and the state, was published by Noemi Press in 2020.