The tree with the lights in it.

06 February 2019


We left the city at dusk in your white delivery van
Cityscape abruptly morphed into Garden State Parkway conveyor belt of headlights and taillights and dark nothing on either side

The simplicity of the place was always most pronounced on nights like these
Transported from the city’s cacophony to the roar of waves crashing below the boardwalk
A Norman Rockwell painting of summertime Americana
Teenagers moved in restless clumps, looking for whatever trouble they could find in a town of summer homes, souvenir shops and a public drinking ban

I was already a young woman when I first visited
Yet somehow I remember it differently, as if I too spent the glory days of my childhood there
A twin bed next to sand dollar ornaments and framed nautical knots
Sundown dinners on the dock featuring your mother’s grape tomatoes
Your father proudly piloting his pontoon boat

I know the place is still there
Hurricane Sandy hit hard, but the boardwalk was spared
The black light back room still glows trippy neon nag champa behind the record store

Teens continue to prowl around — having always been young and thus feeling eternally so
Immortal, invincible
A seaside resort town oblivious to the passage of time.