Where I Go When I'm Not Listening to You

Susan Kelley

Sunny blazing hot and so humid the air has a weight
and the color gets steamed out of the marbled sky

The thirst-quenching guzzle of an ice-dripping beer
streaming frost or all the orange juice you can drink

The boardwalk, penny arcades, concessions and rides
streams of people jiggling by nearly naked, casual

As if shopping at Winn-Dixie looking for a can of spam
instead of conch shells and coconuts carved with faces

The smell of suntan oil on sunburned skin, cotton candy,
'dogs on a stick and the bumper car's oily electric spark

The cheerful haggle of barkers, the clanging, banging
games of no chance, manic rinky-dink carousel music

Kids lined up hopping like popcorn, teen girls watching
giggle bait lifeguards execute a shift change

Burning hot powdered sugar sand that squeaks like snow
underfoot and shells the size of babies' nails

Blue-gray Atlantic warm as a summer puddle, lake flat,
foamy wavelets running up on shore playful as puppies

Splashing high-stepped through the shallows then
diving full body free fall into that blessed coolness

This is where I go to float neck deep within the sea's rising
pulse anchored only by my big toe thrust in the sand

About the Author

Susan Kelley is a retired information systems manager who lives in the mountains between San Jose and Santa Cruz, California. She has studied poetry at Stanford University's Continuing Studies Program and Foothill College. She grew up in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.