Coney Island

Before the clamor and confusion of mid-day,
before shadows slant lean and low
and seagulls dive-bomb a littered beach,

I gaze down the grey-boarded walk
bejeweled with brightly colored umbrellas
and awnings hawking lobster rolls, soft serve, and beer.

It's a calm before the storm, a respite;
ghostlike. As if I look hard enough,
I'll transport back in time

when five cents gypsied one down the tracks
to a beachside breeze, promise of a Nathan's frank,
and a Steeplechase thrill.

Electro Spin and Sea Side Swing seem overshadowed
by Wonder Wheel's grace (that's probably still the same)
and Classic Rock rolls its rhythm

as Carousel and Thunderbolt act as grand sentinels.
I'm eventually drawn to the beach
dotted with small shaded oasis's, crowded with coolers & chairs.

"Cold Coronas, Cotton Candy!, Snow Cones".
"Get it!, Get it!" and I buy two umbrellas for $20,
my refuge beneath a partially cloudy sky,

close my eyes as a life guard's whistle blows,
children laugh, bicker, cry
and Latino hip hop filters from over my left shoulder.

by Margaret Bednar, 07/01/2019