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Brighton Beach


Because the people I love don't believe in heaven
we take the train to Brighton. Atlantic Avenue, Pacific Street. The ocean

is always the ocean, so we take the Q. Seventh Avenue, Prospect Park.
It's hard to explain. The tide rises, and we drink all the beer we brought.

Before the restaurants, before the boardwalk, crackheads slept in dunes
and girls turned tricks, or so we hear from a guy we met. He grew up here

and for a living now he installs in bars electric chandeliers. In these waves,
when he was young, his sister drowned, and because she's gone

he takes the Q to Brighton. Church Avenue, Beverly Road. We don't speak
the language spoken. At a loss to say what we mean, we take the Q

to get there. And because the sun dies in Brighton, we know the day
can end, and because the sky can't help but darken, we go home again

to Boerum Hill. Cortelyou Road, Avenue J. In these waves, one night,
one summer, I kissed someone. We walked through sands and bottle glass

so we could touch the ocean the way the water can't help but touch the land,
and in the end we couldn't help but touch, so we took the Q, that year,

to Brighton. I didn't believe in heaven. It's hard to explain. Take the train,
touch the sea, walk the sand. Kings Highway, Sheepshead Bay.

Along the shore lie those who know there is no heaven, and no answers
to our questions, and that ships leaving piers look like distant chandeliers.


Sarah V. Schweig

Take Nothing with You
University of Iowa Press


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