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Recalling a once popular Jersey Shore resort, now past its prime.

The Boardwalk

Attackby Ronald Erling Nilson20 Apr 2014

I saw you
on the boardwalk -
tight-roping along the wooden slats
or gliding with gulls
above the beach umbrellas -
sometimes playing skeet-ball
and redeeming tickets for
crosses that glow in the dark -
or gambling for cigarette cartons -
or just stalking the casino,
bouncing like a bumper car
among the concessions.

Always alone, processing
through the house of horrors
and around the games of chance -
a number on the clacking wheel -
a rabbit in the shooting gallery -
a statue on the auction table -
a wrapper in the sand.

On summer evenings you sat,
back to the amusements,
drinking coffee from a Dixie cup,
while shadows crept up from behind,
crusting over the ocean like a scab,
while you listened to a faint music
carried by the same current
that beached the Morro Castle
after it burned out at sea.

Are you still there?
Still going in circles
on the merry-go-round
and stretching yourself
in the fun-house mirrors -
enthroned on the lifeguard stand -
climbing rocks on the jetty -
wearing the salt-sea air
like a king's robe?