jack galmitz | at brighton beach

At Brighton Beach

At Brighton Beach deep in winter,
people promenade along the boardwalk:
old men and women who are arthritic,
young couples pushing baby carriages,
immigrants from Russia, Eastern Orthodox
and Jewish, the homeless and alcoholic,
all caught in the to and fro drift facing
the Atlantic breakers empty of ships
except the offing with its barges.

It is another change in the weather
that is always changing, even though
it feels calm. Some people walk arm in arm,
friends, wives and husbands, and the children
run ahead undaunted by the cold
towards Coney Island and its steel site
of the Parachute Jump that is as steady
as things get around here. Stationary,
the vanishing point, this amusement ride,
designed and patented by Commander Strong
to further aviation readiness,
bbuilt for the 1939 World’s Fair,
disassembled and rebuilt in Brooklyn, restored
but unused continues in the memories of all
those who promenade, even the small,
who never saw the great chutes falling
in the winter winds of years gone,
and the screaming of those thrilled to be aloft
above Brooklyn, New York, and with the gulls.

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