IF MY MOTHER WERE ALIVE
If my mother were alive
I’d take her for a walk on the boardwalk
in Belmar. She’d have loved that. We’d sit
on a bench facing the ocean and be silent
together for a long time. We’d hold hands.
Then we’d talk. I’d read her some poems,
ones I could share with her. She’d no doubt
have one of her short stories to read to me, or
she’d simply tell me about the old days. She’d
talk about her childhood, how her family had
money once. How my grandfather and his crew
built the first runway at Newark Airport. She’d
talk about driving to the shore before the Parkway
was built and how she was terrified when she saw
white crosses burning along the road. We’d talk
about baseball, painting, poems, flowers, macrame.
She’d smoke a few cigarettes and she’d laugh her
beautiful laughter. And then we’d go down to
the water and she’d pull up her skirt and dip
her feet into the sea.