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Hurricane Season

Those red and yellow windbreakers signal
how little time's left for spending
and selling; signing sleeves unravel
the seams of a flattened horizon
as fast as hands pull wallets from pockets
or unstitch sow's-ear purses. Something

sharper than hunger's razor divides
the boardwalk crowds confined to land,
demands the shucking of so many buckets
of mussels and steamers, sweet corn roasted
on oil-drum fires, consumes all the candy-
and caramel-coated apples hawked

by women walking carts back and forth,
and so thoroughly strips shops and stands
of totems to guard against a winter's worth
of curses: flip-flops, boogie boards,
pinwheels and Frisbees, crabs in wire cages,
shells children must have painted. And one

raving old man is driven to scan
his metal detector across the sand,
gauge headphones' hissing transmissions, scoop
bottle caps in a sifter. How amusing we
must seem, sprouting full-grown from his headó
surfers in wet suits saddling the chop,

circling his shoulders with sea grass,
shock cords, the seeds of strange ideas
seized in our beaks. Until the wake
we scratch through muddied sets severs
connections, and we disappear behind darker
swells, mount, descend, and rise again.

John Hennessy

Coney Island Pilgrims
The Ashland Poetry Press

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